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Balls in attack over 'dismal' Tory record on the economy

WORKING people cannot afford another five years of Conservative economics, Ed Balls will insist today, as he reveals research showing that by next year workers will have seen the biggest fall in average earnings for more than 140 years.

The Shadow Chancellor, in a speech in the marginal seat of Bedford, will admit an incoming Labour government would face a "daunting task" but would rise to the challenge with changes to create a UK economy that worked for all people, not just a few at the top.

Insisting Labour would present a "radical and credible plan based on big reform not big spending," Mr Balls, as part of his party's summer campaign entitled The Choice, will set out his party's election prospectus, which includes: freezing energy bills; introducing a 10p starting rate of tax; increasing the minimum wage; expanding free childcare; introducing tax breaks for firms that pay the living wage; building at least 200,000 new homes a year; cutting business rates and arguing for Britain to remain in a reformed EU albeit without an in/out referendum.

He will say: "While David Cameron and George Osborne complacently claim the economy is now fixed, the truth is most people are worse off under the Tories.

"New analysis today from the House of Commons Library shows by 2015 working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since 1874. It's also set to be the first time since the 1920s that people are worse off at the end of the Parliament than they were at the beginning.

"This is a dismal record of failure."

Elsewhere, his colleague Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham warned the NHS in England was "heading for the rocks" as Labour called for contracts putting the service "up for sale" to be frozen until after the election.

The SNP Government seized on his remarks, saying the privatisation of the NHS in England threatened funding in Scotland.

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