Miliband to call for a new banking bonus tax

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Indy Politics

Labour leader Ed Miliband will today urge the Government to repeat last year's bank bonus tax to fund help for the young unemployed and support for the faltering construction industry.

Ahead of next week's Budget, he and shadow chancellor Ed Balls will appeal to George Osborne to do more to bolster growth.

At a press conference in Westminster, they will say that a repeat of the £3.5 billion windfall tax on bankers' bonuses would raise cash to promote growth and help hard-pressed families.

They will detail specific proposals for tackling the "crisis" of youth unemployment and boost the construction industry, which has lost 27,000 jobs in the past year.

Labour is also calling for the VAT rise to be reversed on petrol as prices soar over 130 pence per litre. It intends to force a Commons vote on the issue on Wednesday.

Mr Miliband is expected to say this morning: "We are under no illusions that at this stage the Government will abandon their deficit reduction plan - they are too dug in for that.

"But at least they should take some steps to deal with faltering growth in our economy - to start to establish a plan to create jobs in the private sector... to deal with the crisis of youth unemployment in our country and build the skills we need for the future.

"The tests for next week's Budget are clear - growth and living standards. But the signs aren't good that they will be met. The Government should think again."

Yesterday, Mr Balls urged the Chancellor to provide "immediate relief" for motorists by reversing, on petrol purchases only, January's rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20%.

Speaking to Sky News, he called on Mr Osborne to "act now".

"I think he should act immediately on VAT. This was an own goal and he didn't have to do it," Mr Balls said.

"In Parliament on Wednesday we will be urging Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to join with us in voting in Parliament to urge the Chancellor to cut VAT on fuel now and give immediate relief to hauliers and motorists across the country."