Balls in transatlantic growth drive

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is to co-chair a transatlantic commission with former US treasury secretary Larry Summers to develop policies aimed at improving living standards for middle and low income families.

Mr Balls, who will visit Washington this week to launch the Inclusive Prosperity Commission, organised by US think-tank Centre for American Progress, said he wanted to ensure "economic growth is both strengthened and fairly shared".%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

As part of his trip Mr Balls is also expected to meet Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and visit the White House to meet Gene Sperling, director of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council.

In an article in The Guardian Mr Balls acknowledged the latest GDP figures expected this week were likely to show an increase in growth in the UK, but claimed the signs of recovery come after "three wasted years" under George Osborne's stewardship of the economy and the recovery was mainly benefiting the rich.

Mr Balls said: "Conservative ministers will claim this modest return to growth is proof that Osborne's plan has worked after all. This is a little like Australia's cricket team scraping a draw in the next Test and proclaiming their tour a success.

"The reality is that, once again, Tory complacency is misplaced. First, the UK recovery is far from secure. As the IMF warned again last week, Britain is still a long way from a strong and sustained recovery - while continuing eurozone stagnation and slowdown in emerging markets, especially China, pose real dangers ahead.

"Second, there are growing signs that this nascent recovery is mainly benefiting those at the top. Bank bonuses soared to almost £4 billion in April as top earners deferred their payouts to take maximum advantage of Osborne's top-rate tax cut. But most families are not seeing any recovery in their living standards, with average wages after inflation still falling; in fact, family incomes are now facing the longest squeeze since the 1870s."

He added: "I want us to work with the US now to face the shared challenge of ensuring that economic growth is both strengthened and fairly shared.

"This week former US treasury secretary Larry Summers and I will launch a transatlantic commission on inclusive prosperity to investigate what reforms our countries need to generate more high-wage jobs for the future.

"Instead of complacent claims that everything is going to plan, Osborne should this week recognise that for ordinary families life is still getting harder. And with risks and uncertainties in the global economy ahead, he should finally act to secure the recovery he squandered three years ago and ensure it benefits the whole country. He cannot simply cross his fingers and hope the good weather will continue; he must act now with a One Nation economic plan."

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Balls in transatlantic growth drive
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