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Balls slams Tory £25 billion ‘panicky spending promises’

Balls slams Tory £25 billion ‘panicky spending promises’

🕔16.Apr 2015

Ed Balls launched a stinging attack on the Conservative election manifesto today, accusing the Tories of trying to bribe voters with £25 billion of “panicky spending” promises.

The shadow chancellor claimed that a string of pledges set out by David Cameron and George Osborne, including more money for the NHS, a freeze in rail fares and tax cuts for lower earners would leave every household in Britain £1,439 a year worse off.

Mr Balls was speaking in Birmingham Yardley, one of Labour’s top target seats in the West Midlands where the party’s candidate Jess Phillips hopes to defeat John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP.

Admitting that the General Election on May 7 would be “the closest in my lifetime”, Mr Balls sought to contrast what he said was Labour’s fully-funded programme with “fantasy and unbelievable promises from the Tories”. He said:

The Tories already have plans for extreme cuts – because they want to go beyond simply balancing the books in the next parliament.

Their plans mean deeper spending cuts in the next three years than the last five years.

But since the Budget, the Tories have now made billions of pounds of panicky pre-election promises – with absolutely no idea where the money is coming from.

The shadow chancellor produced an audit of Conservative election promises which he explained was based on costings from independent experts at the House of Commons Library, Treasury figures and figures provided by the Conservatives:

Eight billion pounds in 2020 for the National Health Service. But the Tories haven’t said where the money is coming from. As Ed Miliband said this weekend, you cannot fund the NHS on an IOU.

A five year rail fares freeze which the Transport Secretary himself has admitted would cost £1.8 billion, £360 million a year. But the Tories haven’t said where the money is coming from. Not a penny.

Three days a week of paid leave volunteering, which on a cautious basis we have assumed will have take-up of 50 per cent in the public sector and would cost £1.2 billion a year. But the Tories haven’t said where the money is coming from.

A rise in the personal allowance to £12,500, which on the cautious assumption that it is not introduced until the last full year of the next Parliament would cost £6.5 billion a year.

A rise in the higher-rate threshold to £50,000, which on the same basis would cost £3.9 billion a year. But again the Tories haven’t said where the money is coming from.

A housing policy which would cost £4.5 billion a year – and which some housing experts believe could cost even more than that. But the Tories have only identified funding of £100M a year.

And a childcare policy which costs almost £1 billion a year. But again, where the Tories have only identified £350 million of funding.

Mr Balls added:

Who will pay the price of these £25 billion of promises which the Tories can’t say how they will pay for?

David Cameron and George Osborne say ‘look at our track record’. And their track record shows it won’t be those with the broadest shoulders who will be asked to make a bigger contribution.

Just look at how they have given a huge tax cut to millionaires, opposed Labour’s mansion tax for the NHS and refused to repeat the bank bonus tax. And just look at how they have asked working people to pay more by raising VAT and cutting tax credits.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, £1100 a year more on average for every household.

So everyone knows it will be working families who end up paying the price again if the Tories win the election.

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