Balls: Osborne must change course for economic growth

Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, urges George Osborne to change course on the economy to encourage growth:

"The cautious thing to do is to change course before it is too late, not to plough on with a reckless gamble which doesn't seem to be working. The chancellor should start listening not just to me, but the IMF and the Federation of Small Businesses who have also called for temporary tax cuts if slow growth persists.

"Temporarily reversing the VAT rise, which is costing families with children £450 per year, would give our stalled economy the jump start it urgently needs and so help get the deficit down for the long term. The government also needs to get the banks lending to small businesses and use the funds raised from repeating the bank bonus tax to get young people off the dole and into work.

"After the global recession we've got to get our deficit down and that means tough decisions on tax and spending cuts. But it's now increasingly clear that we need a more balanced deficit plan that puts jobs and growth first. We need a plan for the long-term future of our country which recognises you can't get the deficit down in a sustainable way without strong growth and more people in work."