Two Ed’s are better than one in budget demands

by David Walsh

 

Opposition leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls have made demands this afternoon to remove fuel VAT duty and introduce a further bank bonus tax in the next week’s budget.

Both made the case for Labour’s measures to ensure economic growth at today’s press conference ahead of the unveiling of the Coalition government’s budget.

The tax levied on bankers’ bonuses last year raised £3.5bn, something Labour argue will kick-start the economy if mirrored this year. The Conservatives have criticised the Opposition of having made £12bn of unsustainable spending commitments.

Mr Miliband said: “As a matter of simple fairness, at a time when everyone else is facing tax rises, it is completely wrong for this Tory-led government to choose to cut taxes for the banks.

“The banks, who helped create the financial crisis, must now help return our economy to growth.”

Among the initiatives they outlined, they called on the government to create more jobs in the private sector as well as provide support for the young unemployed and a boost

Miliband and Balls at this afternoon's press conference. Image courtesy of Sky News.

to the construction company. The party believes its own proposals would create more than 100,000 new jobs.

In the face of a VAT rise on petrol from 17.5% to 20%, Miliband has also called for all MPs to join Labour in voting on an immediate reversal in fuel rises on Wednesday. The leader was pressed by journalists on what his alternative to an overall tax rise would be but he refused to answer.

 

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