Ed Balls in conversation with Steve Richards: The highlights


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The Independent Online

Yesterday our political columnist interviewed Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the wake of his conference speech. Here are the key lines:

OBR: Balls wants Labour's manifesto to be checked over by the Office for Budget Responsibility, a move presumably added spice to by the recent briefing from the Tory party that there was a £27bn hole in Labour's projected finances.

Government spending: Asked by Richards whether he overdid the Keynsian message, calling for spending in recession,  Balls replied: "in 2010, I thought if you don't make what you think is the right argument you are letting people down."

Balls's argument is that it consistent for him to call for an increase in government spending during a recession, and to say that you have to avoid having government debt go out of control once the economy starts to grow, and that both arguments are consistent with Keynes.

HS2: Balls says Labour supported HS2 but over time the costs have gone up and up and questions are being asked. You can read our summary of the implications of Ball's comments on HS2 here.

Help to Buy: The Shadow Chancellor says the idea of helping young people onto the housing ladder is the right one. But he adds that if you stimulate demand without increasing supply you only add to the problem of rising house prices.

Nick Clegg: Balls says if he stood up and reeled off a policy for free school meals without saying how it would be paid for, he would get slated. Nick Clegg got away with just that, claims Balls.

Thanks once more to the RSA group, who sponsored yesterday's interview.