Labour ‘must hear tough messages’

Ed Balls admitted there were “tough messages” for Labour to take on board after he was quizzed at a public discussion in Nottingham.

As part of the party’s biggest review of policy for nearly 20 years, the shadow Chancellor accepted questions from around 40 people in Nottingham on some of their biggest concerns.

Many of the questions centred on healthcare, education, finance, and pensions, with one attendee quizzing Mr Balls about banks, warning: “We shouldn’t be frightened of the financial sector. We should not be frightened, and the Government should not be frightened, to thoroughly and completely transform the banking system, because that’s what’s making the poor poorer and the rich richer.”

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Mr Balls said there was “no doubt” regulation was not tough enough but also said there needed to be a balance struck between banks lending to each other and the fact that people needed pensions, mortgages and savings.

When asked if Labour was listening because many of the messages in the discussion were the same as before last year’s election, he said afterwards: “It’s important that we understand where we didn’t get things right and learn from that, but it’s also important for us to hear when people here are saying, ‘don’t cut the police’.

“There are some good messages here for Labour, but also some tough ones for us to take on board as well.”