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Let's work together, Balls says


Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

Business and government must work together to win back public trust as part of the drive to boost the economy and improve living standards, according to the shadow chancellor.

Ed Balls will tell business leaders today that action should be taken when markets fail and competition does not operate, such as in banking and energy.

He will set out a range of policies at the British Chambers of Commerce conference, including banking reforms aimed at boosting business lending, cutting business rates next year, more apprenticeships and Britain staying in a reformed Europe.

Mr Balls will say: "At a time when politicians and business leaders often seem to compete with each other for bad headlines, be it MPs expenses, tax avoidance schemes or rising energy prices, none of us can afford to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the legitimate and mainstream concerns of people across our country that our economy is not currently working for them and their families.

"That is why we believe it is so vital that government works closely with all businesses - large and small: to promote open markets, competition and long-term wealth creation; and to reform our economy so that, by using and investing in the talents of all, we can deliver rising living standards, not just for a few but for everyone in every part of the country."

He will add: "Our task is to show that a dynamic and open market economy can work to raise living standards for all.

"Being pro-market and pro-competition also means acting when markets fail and competition does not operate, for instance in banking and in energy - otherwise we risk public support.

"So, let us work to reduce the deficit in a fair way, deliver a strong and balanced recovery and rebuild public trust that an open and dynamic economy can work for all working people and tackle the cost of living crisis."

A Conservative spokesman said: "Ed Miliband and Ed Balls would hit business with higher taxes and short-term political fixes that would risk jobs, risk investment and risk the recovery.

"It's clear that an anti-business Labour Party that hasn't changed is the biggest risk to the security of Britain's future."