Ed Balls writes for The Sun this morning and recommends four things that the Chancellor should do in his forthcoming budget:
- "While he gave banks a tax cut compared to last year, they are now going to pay £800million more than this Government was planning. He should use the extra money to reverse the VAT rise on petrol.
- Secondly, he should look at April's annual fuel duty rise. Labour often postponed planned duty rises when world oil prices were rising.
- Thirdly, he must work with finance ministers globally to keep the oil supply flowing and get prices down.
- Finally, he must get our economy moving and get more people in work and paying taxes."
My guess is that the two measurable things on that list – the first two – will happen. When George Osborne announced his extra bank levy I speculated that he would use this extra money to bring a little relief to motorists. It's unfortunate if a fleet-of-foot opposition will now claim to be leading public opinion on this matter.
The cost of living, including petrol prices, is clearly going to be a key Labour theme. Ed Miliband is returning to his squeezed middle theme in a speech later today.
Labour's political weakness is that it is still acting as an irresponsible opposition. Despite secretly planning cuts Labour will neither (1) spell out how they would cut nor (2) support some of the Coalition's cuts in the national interest. The irresponsibility of that position stinks.