George Osborne should look to Stevenage, says Ed Balls

PUBLISHED: 14:03 20 February 2012

Ed Balls and Stevenage Labour leader Sharon Taylor met employers at the centre.

Ed Balls and Stevenage Labour leader Sharon Taylor met employers at the centre.

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Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls was in Stevenage this morning praising a government-backed business centre as an example for promoting economic growth.

Mr Balls met employers at the Business and Technology Centre where 80 small and medium size businesses are based. The centre was set up with help from the East of England Regional Development Agency and Stevenage Borough Council.

Speaking to The Comet, he said the site was an example to George Osborne of how government intervention can help.

“The Labour council said we want to bring on the next generation of businesses with the regional development agency.

“This government abolished the agency. Each time I have met with local businesses in places like this that are part financed by the agency they think it is crazy to have abolished it. This is a model for business growth.

“Stevenage is hit by what’s happening across the UK. It had an 83 per cent rise in long-term youth unemployment in the last 10 months.

“The Conservatives are throwing their hands in the air – we have to redouble our efforts.”

Ahead of next month’s budget, Mr Balls recommended a one year VAT reduction as part of a package of measures to get the economy moving. This would be funded by extra borrowing.

“There would be more confidence about moving house. It would create jobs. Unless you are getting growth you can’t do it. Austerity on its own can be self-defeating. It’s not working – it’s going too far, too fast.

“I have a more balanced plan. Get a boost into the economy now.”

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