Ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013, Ed Balls MP has written the following article for the Sunday Mirror...
From the man who gave us the ‘Omnishambles’ Budget, we’re now getting Omnishambles 2.
After last year’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne was forced into chaotic U-turns on the pasty tax, the caravan tax and the charities tax.
This time the U-turns have started before he’s even made his speech.
With four days until the Autumn Statement, we’ve already had panicky changes in government policy: on payday loans, cigarette packaging, energy subsidies and bank lending.
Britain deserves better. That’s why Ed Miliband and I are setting out Labour’s long-term plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and earn our way to higher living standards for all.
Because, for all the welcome reports that the economy is finally growing again, for millions of families there is still no recovery at all.
After three damaging years of flatlining, prices are still rising much faster than wages.
Working people are now on average over £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron came to office.
But David Cameron and George Osborne are so out of touch they have chosen to give people earning over £150,000 a huge tax cut.
So we need change, not more of the same.
Labour will take action to build more homes, expand apprenticeships and back small firms by cutting business rates and setting up a British Investment Bank.
We’ll make work pay by expanding free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds to 25 hours per week, and introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people and the long-term unemployed.
And Labour will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 while we make long-term changes to the energy market.
On energy, the test for George Osborne is this: whatever he announces must both stop bills rising this winter and make the energy companies pay for it, not the taxpayer.
We don’t need more half-measures and panicky climbdowns from the Omnishambles Chancellor.
Only a price freeze will do.