By Max Clarke

Ed Balls, shadow Chancellor, this morning delivered his 5-point-plan for economic recovery.

In short, his plan amounted to a VAT cut, a bank tax to pay for affordable housing and ‘guaranteed jobs for young people’, as well a further tax cuts for smaller enterprises.

Assuming a rare stance of contrition, he also apologised for his party’s role in creating and exacerbating the ongoing economic crisis from which the UK is yet to recover. And in a far too rare move in UK politics, he agreed that the cuts agenda was essential, stating he would be unable to reverse all the unpopular cuts currently in affect.

Commenting on Balls’ plan, the UK’s leading business organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the scheme, though seriously questioned its feasibility.

“Given that public spending cuts are vital to eradicating the deficit and protecting our triple A credit rating, it is right that Ed Balls commits to new fiscal rules. Labour has not got this right in the past,” said John Cridland, CBI Director-General.

“If affordable, some of Mr Balls’ proposals for stimulating growth are worth considering, but they must pass the affordability test. In my view, a VAT cut is not affordable.

“Getting young people into work is an important objective we all share,” concluded Cridland, though neither the CBI’s chief economist, nor the Director General are certain how this can be achieved.

The Coalition are currently struggling to boost private sector employment, as youth joblessness again nears the 1-million mark. Balls made no mention of how ‘guaranteed jobs for young people’ could be achieved, short of creating posts in the public sector and therefore undermining the pressing need to curtail public expenditure.


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