Ed Balls MP, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, responding to Nick Clegg’s comments about giving shares in part-nationalised banks to members of the public, said:
"The test for what happens to the nationalised banks must be the long-term best interests of the taxpayer not the short-term need to get headlines for Nick Clegg's overseas trip.
"The government needs to urgently explain what impact this proposal will have on the public finances, what the administration costs are estimated to be, how the scheme would work and what effect it would have on the balance sheets of the banks.
"The government also needs to explain why, when families and pensioners are being hit hard by deep cuts and the mistaken VAT rise, they are giving the banks a tax cut this year. They should listen to Labour's call for a tax on bank bonuses this year to create 100,000 jobs for young people and build 25,000 affordable homes. That would help get this stalled economy moving again, get people off the dole and into work and so help get the deficit down.
"Ministers should be focusing on emergency action now, like a temporary VAT cut, to boost jobs and get the economy growing again which will help get the deficit down for the long term."
Harriet Harman MP, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Labour’s Deputy Leader, also said:
“Instead of dropping hints to grab headlines from Brazil Nick Clegg should be clear with the British public about what the Government’s plans are and be reporting them to Parliament.”