Labour conference: Ed Balls calls for stamp duty break


Ed Balls: "We must go further and we must act now"

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called for 100,000 new affordable homes and a two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers to kick-start the economy.

He said the £3bn to £4bn funding should come from the 4G mobile spectrum sale.

Mr Balls used his speech to Labour's conference in Manchester to stress the need for "urgent" action on growth.

He also announced that the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Sir John Armitt, would review long-term infrastructure planning and finance.

Mr Balls' speech came amid a row between the party's leadership and the unions over backing for a public sector pay freeze.

Len McCluskey - leader of one of Labour's biggest financial backers Unite - said the party should be on the side of ordinary workers, arguing leader Ed Miliband had "got it wrong" and should not offer a "watered-down version" of the coalition's policies.


He received an enthusiastic round of applause after speaking at the conference on Monday.

But Mr Miliband said Labour could not be dominated by special interests such as the trade unions and the row is expected to flare on the conference floor later on Monday.

Mr Balls told delegates: "We need a comprehensive long-term plan to rebuild Britain's infrastructure for the 21st century, and a cross-party consensus to deliver it.

Start Quote

Not more talk, but action right now”

End Quote Ed Balls

"And at a time when government budgets are tight, we must think innovatively about how we can finance these vital projects over the coming decades, drawing on the private sector and long-term pension savings."

The shadow chancellor attacked the coalition's austerity programme, saying: "This is the fundamental truth: if more people are on the dole, not paying taxes, you can't get the deficit down.

"If businesses are going bust, not hiring new workers, you can't get the deficit down. If the economy's not growing, you can't get the deficit down."

He called for "urgent action" to kick-start growth, suggesting a "clear and costed plan" to use the proceeds from the forthcoming sale of 4G radio frequencies to scrap stamp duty for two years on properties worth £250,000 or less.

'Real help'

"With this one-off windfall from the sale of the 4G spectrum, let's cut through the dither and rhetoric and actually do something," he said. "Not more talk, but action right now.

"Let's commit that money from the 4G sale and build over the next two years: 100,000 new homes - affordable homes to rent and to buy - creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and getting the construction industry moving again.

"Add to that a stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers, and we can deliver real help for people aspiring to get on the property ladder."

The 4G auction will sell chunks of radio spectrum to support future mobile services, which will allow users to download data such as music and videos at much faster speeds.

In 2000, the previous Labour government raised £22.5bn to help pay off the national debt with the proceeds of the 3G spectrum auction.

The 4G auction could raise between £3bn and £4bn, according to social enterprise charity the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), although telecoms watchdog Ofcom has not confirmed that figure.


Mr Balls defended his plan to review all public spending if Labour wins the next election, saying the country faces "tough choices" in the years ahead.

"The longer this government staggers on with a failing economic plan, the worse it will get and the harder the job will be," he told Labour activists.

"Hard times will last longer than all of us hoped. And we cannot promise to put everything right straight away.

"Of course we'll make different choices - we'll do things in a fairer and more balanced way and put jobs and growth first."

But GMB union leader Paul Kenny turned his fire on the shadow chancellor on Sunday, saying: "He would give an aspirin a headache, wouldn't he?"

In a speech to delegates on Monday, Mr Kenny will say Labour must go into the next election with a leadership the public can connect with, not those "damaged or dented by past mistakes which have not been owned up to".

At a fringe meeting on Monday, he plans to read out a dossier of errors he will claim the shadow chancellor made when he was in government.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 900.

    #896.they are all the same... labour tory liberal all bloody rubbish ..we need a massive politics change in this country, the place is a disaster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 899.

    @8.Matt Marshall
    why was the economy left in such a ruinous state when they left office in 2010?

    Might have had something to do with this....
    A quick guide to the origins of the global financial crisis...

  • rate this

    Comment number 898.

    To Exiledblade 893

    I think there is a middle ground.

    Thinking objectively, both views have good reasoning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 897.

    It’s time the Labour Party membership woke up and dumped the existing leadership who are all too tainted by their association with the disaster that was the last Labour Government; otherwise they face an eternity fighting the other minority parties for space on the opposition benches.

  • rate this

    Comment number 896.

    Just how did Labour manage to cause a recession in all those other countries?

  • rate this

    Comment number 895.

    @866 'Norman Brooke'
    There are plenty of empty new build properties up and and down the UK.

    These developments were abandoned after the 2008 crash and have been ignored by ConDems and Mr Balls. When will any politician stand up and say this and defend and fight for those who are paying mortgages on properties they can't sell on half-built estates!

    No shortage of houses, just unfinished ones!

  • rate this

    Comment number 894.

    How these people have the bare-faced gall to stand up and preach as to how best to run the country is beyond me. They were responsible in very large part for the dreadful state this country finds itself in yet they glibly ignore that fact and present themselves as trustworthy people whom we should re-elect. Their grotesque collective arrogance knows no bounds. They should be treated with contempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 893.

    #801 solero23 - "Have you ever met a person who bought their council house who regretted it ?"
    Of course THEY'RE satisfied - no-one looks a heavily discounted gift-horse in the mouth.
    Those that are trying to sort out their housing now, with all forms of accomodation becoming more and more unaffordable may not be quite so sanguine.
    Perhaps your view point is a bit limited?

  • rate this

    Comment number 892.

    The bloke is a prize class plonker.
    No real ideas. Just sound bites with empty promises. He has been proven to be a cheat as well so nobody in their right mind would want him in charge of their money.
    He clearly has no idea about economics. Sadly many posting on here are the same. You cannot spend internally and think it will all be better. You need to sell abroad or the economy will implode.

  • rate this

    Comment number 891.

    A stamp duty holiday will not work. All that will happen is greedy estate agents suggesting higher sale prices. A percentage of the stamp duty will effectively be paid to estate agents, and house prices will increase.
    Bad idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 890.

    240.Big John the Red
    1) Our ageing power stations need replacing.
    2) Our national grid needs updating and expanding.
    3) Our fixed telephone network is now 20-25yrs old.
    4) London will need a new flood barrage.
    5) The WCML is at capacity.
    6) The leakage rates for both water and gas due to ageing infrastructure are appalling.

    1,2,3,6 - privatised companies pay
    4 - Londoners pay
    5 - whatzat?

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    Labour should concentrate on issues that provide the basis for all wellbeing:

    - Cutting red tape - regulate the important issues properly;

    - reduce the level of surveillance in the UK (and save a lot of tax money!);

    - make sure small business get a fair chance to grow;

    - get out of the EU - keep free travel and the common meerkat;

    Labour failed in all of these when they were in office!

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.

    Idiots having a go at the baby boomers,they won't complain when their parents and grandparents leave them property.The post war wasn't the rosy picture you people think it was they had to get of their backsides and work and did it without whinging you should do the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.

    Who is going to build the affordable homes? On what land?

  • rate this

    Comment number 886.

    858. Try the tax havens...its where all our jobs, houses, resources are.

    We are simply an abnormal society in Britian. Normal people dont do this, they balance things out.

    Politicians/media are in denial as to the destruction Thatcherism and Blairism have brought to this land.

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    #875 immigration isnt goin to go away...we have young people living on the streets while untrained unskilled eastern europeans come over here for cheap labour and take council houses, it isnt good enough im afraid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.


    Cut up the credit cards, only buy what you actually need, not what you think you need, then maybe you will have some money to save. There are some good ISA accounts out there that pay reasonable interest rates, but you do have to change them every year to keep up with the good rates. Maybe in a few years time, you will have saved up a deposit for a small house. It takes time & effort.

  • rate this

    Comment number 883.

    People are still allowed (and have been promised by Cameron that he will make it even easier , through reinstating large discounts) to buy their Council House? - Why would the Tories want to do this? if not to destroy Council Housing and thereby force everybody towards the private sector, to be at the mercy of the Banks and Private Landlords!

  • rate this

    Comment number 882.

    In the UK, since 2011, we now have 5yr fixed term elections - agreed into law by Con, Lab, LibDems. France has 5yrs, but Germany has four years, as does USA.

    When did the UK population get asked about a new 5yr term by our government?

  • rate this

    Comment number 881.

    Why not build houses and sell them at cost. All funded by the government.

    i.e Nationalise home building.


Page 15 of 59


More Politics stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.