The figures that should worry Labour

Ed Balls' task tomorrow will be to establish Labour as a party that can be trusted to get its hands back on the levers of power.

Ed Balls’ task tomorrow will be to establish Labour as a party that can be trusted to get its hands back on the levers of power

As the country waits with bated breath for an Autumn statement filled less with serious economics and more with political posturing, the past few days have seen a not-so-subtle leak of various numbers we’ll hear tomorrow.

£2 billion, we are told, will be pledged as extra cash for the NHS to avert a hospital crisis entirely of the government’s own making.

£15 billion looks set to be ploughed into the country’s ailing roads network while £2.3 billion is set to be invested in flood defences.

All worthy stuff, but what matters is at this stage are the political messages that tomorrow sends to the country, and with just months to go until the General Election, on the politics, Labour should be fearful.

Polling published today by ComRes for the Independent will make grim reading for Miliband et al.

Take the issue of family finances. For months, if not years, the Shadow Cabinet has sought to develop its cost of living narrative, tapping into a sense that economic improvements haven’t led to improved family finances.

Despite this however, along with a flurry of populist measures on energy price freezes and rent controls, the polling shows that when asked under whom they believe family finances would improve most, 43 per cent said David Cameron and George Osborne while just 32 per cent said Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

Meanwhile, asked who they most trusted to run the economy as a whole, 37 per cent said Cameron and Osborne compared to 27 per cent who said Miliband and Balls.

When he responds to the chancellor’s statement tomorrow, Ed Balls’ task will be to establish Labour as a party that can be trusted to get its hands back on the levers of power.

With the polling as bleak as it is however, one wonders if the time has run out to change people’s minds.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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13 Responses to “The figures that should worry Labour”

  1. swat

    If Balls is presenting the argument, then we’ve lost before he’s even started.
    Get someone else to do it.

  2. Cole

    Quite so. He’s unpleasant and a presentational disaster: sweaty, shifty-looking and smug. He’s nearly as bad as Osborne.

  3. Norfolk29

    I wonder how you will explain this away if and when Labour emerge as the majority party next May and successfully negotiate forming a government. Ed Balls has forgotten more economics than George Osborne ever knew (George was in 11 Downing Street with Cameron in September 1991 when the UK was forced out of the ERM) so his experience of failure is deep-rooted.

  4. Sparky

    It won’t.

  5. treborc1

    Nope he’s not as bad as Osborne and remember that Ball’s does have an issue with stuttering, That’s not the issue like Blair and Brown, Miliband and Ball’s do seem to have a problem working with each other, and it shows.

    I cannot actually see much difference between the two chancellors to be honest. When the Tories came out with £2 billion for the NHS instead of labour attacking it for being old money already ear marked for the NHS labour came out and stated we would double it.

    What ever the Tories do labour will beat them, the Tories will be hard on immigration labour doubly hard, the Tories will be hard on welfare labour will hammer down on it.

    The problem with labour they are following the Tories they are not making the news they just follow.

  6. swat

    … the only words Balls has trouble with is: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’
    otherwise he’d doing ok overcoming his disability.

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    You moved right, and now have to live with it, yes.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Given Osborne deliberately caused a depression, that’s just funny. What do you call the Coalition, burrowing to the centre of the Earth?

  9. Guest

    Thanks for the advance notice of vote rigging, sparks.

  10. Leon Wolfeson

    So you want to dictate to other parties who they’re allowed to have speak for them?

  11. sarntcrip


  12. sarntcrip

    simply not so if you’d read te progrressive costed plan put forward by labour you woi;d seek to consider dividing the left and letting thevyories massacre the vulnerable for another 5 years

  13. sarntcrip

    For the record, the following list are the policies Labour have announced for 2015 so far. Under absolutely no definition could this list be thought of as right wing. None. Is it perfect? Of course not. Do I wish they would go further? Of course I do. Will they stick to every one if they win in 2015? None of us can possibly know. Sadly, you still can’t get crystal balls on Amazon.

    But the list represents the progressive Labour party we’ve had for decades. Doubt them, push them, hold them to account, but if you want the Tories out and you live in a marginal seat, voting for anyone but Labour will get you exactly what you most fear. 5 more years of Cameron.

    -An £8 minimum wage

    -Fight for a living wage

    -Repeal Health and Social Care act

    -Repeal the Gagging law

    -Repeal the bedroom tax.

    -An end to inaccessible WCA centres

    -200,000 new homes pa by 2020

    -A mansion tax

    -A freeze on energy bills

    -Guaranteed jobs or training for young people out of work for a year or longer

    -A clampdown on exploitative landlords & more stable, secure rental contracts

    -25 hours of free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds

    -A clampdown on exploitative zero-hours contracts.

    -Integration of health and social care

    -Maximum 48 hour wait to see a GP

    -Mental health training for all NHS staff

    -A reformed WCA overseen by sick and disabled people

    -Penalties for every mistake Maximus make

    -ESA claimants out of the work prog

    -Reverse the 45p tax rate back to 50p
    granted an addition of a robin hood tax would be good

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