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Ed Balls 'The Most Annoying Man In Politics'

Friday 19th April 2013

Ed Balls was labelled "the most annoying man in politics" by an angry caller to LBC 97.3.

The Shadow Chancellor was in the LBC studio to talk to Nick Ferrari on Balls Calls - but was met Shaun in Matfield, a furious first caller, who claimed Mr Balls was in denial over his part in the economic troubles in the UK.

Shaun asked Mr Balls: "I was looking at an interview the other day when Andrew Neil said to you, you racked up a structural deficit 2006/7 of £76billion when you were advising Gordon Brown - over 5% of our GDP.

"You denied it to Andrew Marr, you denied it Andrew Neil.

"Is your biggest problem, you are the most annoying man in politics.  You live in denial.  You smear on behalf of Gordon Brown when you did it.  You’re a left-wing economist with a private education.

"Why do you keep denying, before the banks went nearly pop in 2008, we had this £76bn structural deficit. He still keeps denying it. You're not fit to write the balance sheet for that reason."

Mr Balls responded: "Shaun, between 1997 when we came to government and the financial crisis in 2007 the national came down from over 40% of GDP to in the mid 30% of GDP. We had a big fall in the deficit.

"In 2001 when we sold off the mobile spectrum the 3G we raised £22bn and we used all of that to repay national debt.

"What is true is that then in 2007 there was a big financial crisis which you Shaun want to pin on me but actually happened in America, Germany, France and Japan, all round the world.

"And in that situation when suddenly the banks stop lending, consumers stop spending and businesses stop investing, the only way to avoid depression is for the deficit to go up but it goes up not because of spending Shaun, it wasn’t because of government spending.

"It happened because tax revenues coming into the government fell in Britain and in America and France and Germany all round the world.  The debate about the structural deficit is all about what was the strength of the economy at the time."

Mr Balls also denied the figure of £76bn that Shaun had mentioned, adding: "Were we borrowing in deficit at the time, seventy six billion pounds, absolutely not.  No so that is wrong but the structural deficit is about the deficit divided by what the strength of the economy is."

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