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Ed Balls tackles the big issues on town visit

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls branded Lord Fink’s claims that everyone is involved in tax avoidance as ‘unacceptable’ during a visit to the University of Bedfordshire this week.
Following allegations that the Swiss branch of HSBC bank helped thousands of customers to dodge tax bills, former Conservative treasurer Lord Fink admitted he took steps to curb taxes on his own savings.

Mr Balls told BoS: “It is not one rule for the rich and another rule for everyone else. Within any walk of life it would not be acceptable to exploit the system - if a pub were to meddle with their figures people would say that’s dishonest.”

The Labour MP also talked about some of the major issues Bedford is facing.

Mr Balls said the so-called bedroom tax hitting social housing tenants who cannot move into smaller homes was ‘unfair’.

He said: “There are people who are being punished by the deficit of small homes in the area.”

“In addition there are disabled people who need a second bedroom for their carer.”

He said developers have been encouraged to build large houses in suburban areas under a Conservative government, rather than small, affordable homes that are needed in city neighbourhoods. Promises to axe the bedroom tax are in Labour’s up-coming election manifesto.

Mr Balls also added that the current energy regulator does not do enough to tackle fuel poverty.

“While the market is dominated by only a few providers there will always be a lack of competition between companies, creating artificially high energy rates,” he said.

“The system that monitors them needs to be much more transparent and we plan to replace the existing regulator.”

Mr Balls attended a Q&A event hosted by the University of Bedfordshire on Thursday with Patrick Hall, Labour’s 2015 candidate for Bedford and Kempston.

This article, by Jenna Hutber, originally appeared in Bedfordshire on Sunday. You can read the original here: http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/Ed-Balls-tackles-bigger-issues-visit-University/story-26023264-detail/story.html#ixzz3TMGGiCtd

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