Balls woos Cable, in Plan B plea to “sensible people in the government”

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has followed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s lead, making fresh overtures to business secretary Vince Cable.


Ed Balls has followed Ed Miliband’s lead with fresh overtures to Vince Cable, saying he wants to “work with other parties” in search of a “bold plan to get our economy moving”.

In a column in tomorrow’s Sunday Mirror, the shadow chancellor writes:

“The country cannot afford to wait until the next election before we get a change of course. Because the longer ministers refuse to act, the more long-term damage will be done to our economy. That’s why I want to work with other parties – including sensible people in the Government – on a new economic plan.

“In his heart of hearts, Lib Dem Business ­Secretary Vince Cable must know that Plan A is not working. After all, before the last election, he warned – with Labour – that David Cameron and George Osborne’s policies would backfire. And sadly our warnings came true.”

Policy-wise, he adds:

Let’s work together on new ideas to create jobs and build our way out of recession. Let’s boost construction jobs by bringing forward infrastructure projects – including building thousands more affordable homes – and cutting VAT on home improvements to five per cent.

“Let’s look at setting up a new British Investment Bank to help businesses get the credit they need to expand. And why don’t we tax bank bonuses to fund a job for every young person unemployed for more than a year?

“I am clear no single party has a monopoly on good ideas. Vince Cable has suggested a mansion tax on homes worth over £2million. So, at a time when people on low and middle incomes are bearing the brunt of the Government’s tax rises and spending cuts, let’s look at whether that could work, too.”

Earlier this week, Miliband revealed he was in regular text contact with Cable, saying:

“I exchange texts with lots if different people. Wisdom doesn’t reside in one particular party.”

The business secretary himself, meanwhile, is set to launch the coalition’s industrial strategy in London on Tuesday. The Government will pledge millions of pounds of support for key industries in the latest attempt to answer demands for a clear growth strategy.

Looking ahead, he tells tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph:

“Government makes decisions every day that affect the British economy, but has for too long done this in a chaotic, ad hoc way.

“There is not a large company in the world that would proceed in such an unplanned manner. Just as business makes its strategic plans and sticks to them, later on this week I will set out a strategy for the future of British industry – a long-term approach for the future, where government and business working together will have real impact.”

With delicious timing, both Mr Balls and Dr Cable are due to appear on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC tomorrow morning.

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