Peter Hoskin

Balls beats the drum for investment

Balls beats the drum for investment
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Oh, look, Ed Balls is talking about "investment" again.  This time it's an address on the Government's Children's Plan, and, judging by the preview in today's Independent, it's all going to be about how much more money his department is spending.  I doubt Alistair Darling will be impresssed - especially as much of that money was strong-armed out of the Treasury in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week.  And I doubt that some of Balls's other colleagues will be too amused either.  Their departments will be subject to even deeper cuts thanks to his brinksmanship.

But you suspect that Balls isn't just hoping to rile his fellow ministers - he'll probably want to divert some attention away from the important u-turn which he outlined on Marr yesterday.  As of today, the government is tweaking its Vetting and Barring Scheme so that an extra two million people will not need a criminal records check to come into contact with children.  The Schools Secretary shouldn't be too bashful about the move; it's a positive development.  But you're still left wondering whether it's right to vet the other nine million adults...