Ed Balls outlines £250m jobs pledge
Ed Balls has put employment at the centre of his campaign for the Labour leadership by outlining a £250 million plan to create 200,000 jobs and work placements for the unemployed.
As ballot papers continued to land on the doorsteps of Labour Party members, he insisted his policy went "to the heart" of the alternative he would be offering on the economy.
And he called for a new guarantee to ensure that anyone unemployed for more than 18 months would be given a job or work placement.
The shadow education secretary stressed his plan would ensure everyone of working age had the right to a job - and the responsibility and requirement to take it.
Mr Balls, who was a key lieutenant of Gordon Brown, said Labour had to be the "consensus-changers" and challenge the "misguided view" that cutting spending to reduce the deficit was the right priority this year.
He was speaking after the Labour Party was rocked by the publication of Tony Blair's memoirs on Wednesday, which have reopened old wounds about the Blair-Brown feud during Labour's years in government.
Some believe Mr Blair also came close to endorsing the economic approach of the coalition Government when he wrote in A Journey: "If governments don't tackle deficits, the bill is footed by taxpayers, who fear big deficits now mean big taxes in the future, the prospect of which reduces confidence, investment and purchasing power. This then increases the risk of a prolonged slump."
But Mr Balls said: "Labour must be the consensus-changers and challenge the misguided view that cutting spending to reduce the deficit is the right priority this year or that we can somehow cut our way to recovery.
"We need to do more to boost jobs, promote growth and get the economy moving again. That's why this week I have called for 100,000 more affordable homes to be built to tackle the housing shortage and create hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs."
He added: "This policy goes to the heart of the alternative I am setting out on the economy. The best way to secure economic recovery and get the deficit down over time is to make sure more people are in work and paying taxes."