Ed Balls trusts George Osborne with his son (but not the British economy) as the pair look best of friends on Andrew Marr Show

  • Balls forced to rule out cut in VAT as he is 'daunted' by size of deficit
  • In 2012, had called for a temporary cut in VAT to boost economy
  • But he admitted public finances would not allow this after next election
  • Osborne spotted in BBC green room looking after Balls's young son

By Amanda Williams

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They may have been trading pre-budget blows, but Ed Balls and George Osborne could not have looked closer as they appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday.

The political rivals looked particularly friendly as they outlined their opposing messages, three days ahead of the budget.

And while the shadow chancellor was being interviewed on Radio 5 Live, Mr Osborne was reportedly spotted in the BBC's 'green room' looking after Mr Balls's young son.

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, appear on The Andrew Marr Show looking like the very best of friends

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, appear on The Andrew Marr Show looking like the very best of friends

The political rivals looked particularly friendly as they outlined their opposing messages, three days ahead of the budget

The political rivals looked particularly friendly as they outlined their opposing messages, three days ahead of the budget

It came as shadow chancellor Mr Balls was forced to rule out a cut in VAT during the interview, because he said he is 'daunted' by the size of the deficit

It came as shadow chancellor Mr Balls was forced to rule out a cut in VAT during the interview, because he said he is 'daunted' by the size of the deficit

The convivial atmosphere came as shadow chancellor Mr Balls was forced to rule out a cut in VAT during the TV interview with Andrew Marr, because he said he is 'daunted' by the size of the deficit.

Previously, in 2012, he had called for a temporary cut in VAT to boost the economy.  During the show, however, he admitted public finances would not allow for this after the next election.

 

He was also forced to concede that the 'cost of living crisis' would mean that it would be unlikely that higher earners would have child tax benefits restored under Labour.

Mr Osborne revealed that the controversial Government-backed Help to Buy scheme is to be extended until the end of the decade and the first new garden city for 100 years will be built in an attempt to boost housebuilding.

He said the extension of Help to Buy for new properties - which had been due to end in 2016 - to 2020 will support the construction of 120,000 additional homes.

Previously, in 2012, he had called for a temporary cut in VAT to boost the economy. During the show, however, he admitted public finances would not allow for this after the next election

Previously, in 2012, he had called for a temporary cut in VAT to boost the economy. During the show, however, he admitted public finances would not allow for this after the next election

He was also forced to concede that the 'cost of living crisis' would mean that it would be unlikely that higher earners would have child tax benefits restored under Labour

He was also forced to concede that the 'cost of living crisis' would mean that it would be unlikely that higher earners would have child tax benefits restored under Labour

He told the show: ‘This means more homes, this means more aspiration for families, this means economic security and economic resilience because Britain has got to get building,’

He announced that a new garden city will be built at Ebbsfleet in Kent, to provide 15,000 homes.

‘At Ebbsfleet there is the land available, there is fantastic infrastructure with a high speed line, it’s on the river, it’s in the South East of England where a lot of the housing pressure has been,’ the Chancellor said.

Mr Osborne revealed that the controversial Government-backed Help to Buy scheme is to be extended until the end of the decade and the first new garden city for 100 years will be built in an attempt to boost housebuilding

Mr Osborne revealed that the controversial Government-backed Help to Buy scheme is to be extended until the end of the decade and the first new garden city for 100 years will be built in an attempt to boost housebuilding

He said the extension of Help to Buy for new properties - which had been due to end in 2016 - to 2020 will support the construction of 120,000 additional homes

He said the extension of Help to Buy for new properties - which had been due to end in 2016 - to 2020 will support the construction of 120,000 additional homes

‘You’ve got local communities and MPs who support the idea. We are going to create an urban development corporation. There are already some home being built on the site, but on a much, much smaller scale.

‘It will be a proper garden city. It is not something this country has attempted for decades. That is one of the messages of my Budget.

‘Britain has to up its ambition, Britain has to up its game, Britain has to earn its way in the world.

‘Yes, the economy is recovering but that is not enough. We have got to finish the job.’

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Like two peas in a pod they have both presided over similar levels of debt. As for cutting VAT they should ditch it altogether, it a useless expensive system, prone to fraud, a simple sales tax at a much lower level would be cheaper and bring in more revenue without the mountains of rules that VAT has. Of course this will not be done for low and behold it is a EU creation as are all of the green taxes we pay and the EU want their share of the bounty. All our problems stem from the EU and the majority of the Pro EU people are either benefiting direct from the EU or brainwashed be all the propaganda. In affect the EU is the finest organisation that is able to transfer wealth ( be it very humble or not ) from the less well off to those who are already very rich.

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They probably are the best of friends.This "opposition"" stuff is just a puppet show for the rest of us.Always was!

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They do look big mates, perhaps they've done a deal come the next general election

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Only a fool would beleive,there is any difference between TORY, LABOUR, OR THE LIB DEMS.THats why The Country is in such a mess.The FOOLS Keep voting the same FOOLS into office.

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I had to laugh when Ed said that the first thing they would do if elected was to deal with the deficit left behind by the coalition. Well Ed would that be similar to the one your party left behind after 13 years? If Labour get in we totally sunk.

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Doesn't matter who's in charge us mere mortals will always be done over.

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Would a person with the cv stating he studied history and is now our Chancellor.Plus another whose cv stated he all but helped bankrupt this country.Yet still could be our next chancellor.Get anywhere near obtaining this position in Germany.Is it any wonder they are the finanialy solvent country in europe.

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George LOOKS YOUNGER

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Members of parliament take us the people as a joke and I suppose we are if we keep voting them in. Well im going to vote UKIP because there is nothing else!!

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Both a bunch of Muppets!!

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