Shadow chancellor drops in to meet students and business leaders

Patrick Hall with Ed Balls.
Patrick Hall with Ed Balls.

The shadow chancellor Ed Balls paid a visit to Bedford to meet business leaders and students.

The Labour MP was joined by Bedford and Kempston candidate Patrick Hall at the University of Bedfordshire, where Mr Balls addressed more than 100 business people, students and staff from the university, Bedford College and local schools, before taking part in a Q&A session.

The visit included an interview with journalism student Jack Beeston for the university’s community radio station, Radio Lab, who quizzed Mr Balls on how, if elected, Labour will deal with course fees.

He also asked Mr Balls what his views are on unpaid work experience, apprenticeships and the cost of living while a student.

Mr Hall said: “I am delighted that so many people came to the university’s superb new Gateway Building to listen to, and question, Ed Balls.

“The feeling was positive with lots of challenging questions and full answers.”

Last week’s visit also included a stop at Atlas Converting Equipment Ltd, Bedford, where Mr Balls met the firm’s managers and made an announcement about Labour’s plans to reform the banking sector.

These include measures to control bonuses, address competition in the industry and create a British Investment Band to fund small and medium-sized businesses.

Mr Balls said: “Too often in recent years our banks have fallen far short of the standards expected of them. After so many scandals we need major reforms and long-term cultural change to restore trust and ensure our banks start working for consumers and businesses again.

“Banks are essential to our economy, but we need them to work better for the businesses and working people who rely on them. That’s why we visited Atlas Converting. It is exactly the kind of business that would benefit from Labour’s plans to increase competition in the business banking sector.”