Political

Ed Balls: I don’t know how much my economic plan would cost

You hardly have to be an experienced politician, or even a novice politician, to know that if you turn up for a major TV interview having announced a set of policies, there’s a good chance you will be asked how much they are going to cost. That’s in the good times and it’s all the more so currently.

And even more all the more so if you are a Labour politician, given all the arguments over their fiscal record.

And if you are called Ed Balls? Well, it is more likely that you will be asked about the cost than it is that I will eat chocolate in the next 24 hours.

All of which makes Ed Balls’s frank admission today “I’ve not costed the whole programme” honest, but also a bizarre piece of credibility-destroying foot-shooting.

It was on the Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil, who was pursuing him on the point about how much the Labour economic plan would cost. Neil repeatedly asked how much the deficit would go up in the short-run under Labour’s plan. Balls’s answer? First, he parried with giving the cost of the VAT cut he wants, but when pushed on the cost of the full package he said,

I’ve not costed the whole programme.

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