Peter Hoskin

The Ed Balls approach to fiscal management

The Ed Balls approach to fiscal management
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Considering the fiscal crisis we face, this revelation in Andrew Rawnsley's column is particularly dispiriting:

"[Gordon Brown] has been egged on by Ed Balls [to make more spending promises], partly because the schools secretary is also obsessed with that old dividing line, partly because he wanted to be able to boast that he had won more money for his department. I am reliably told that the wrangling between the schools secretary and the chancellor went on into the early hours of the morning on the day of the PBR itself. The result was that some of the extra spending beaten out of Mr Darling by Mr Balls did not get into the document because it was already printed. Yvette Cooper, wife of Mr Balls and work and pensions secretary, was also refusing to settle right up to the wire – and beyond it. They may celebrate by treating themselves to His and Hers boxing gloves, but some colleagues think their brinkmanship was outrageous."

It makes you wonder what the PBR would have looked like had Balls succeeded in becoming Chancellor a few months ago.

P.S. George Parker and Alex Barker had more on this story in yesterday's FT.