SHADOW Chancellor Ed Balls came to East Lancashire yesterday and declared Labour has to win marginal Rossendale & Darwen, Burnley and Pendle to form the next government.

He visited all three seats, repeating Ed Miliband’s pledge to upgrade the East Lancashire rail line and replace Pacer trains with new rolling stock.


Mr Balls’ tour began at Pendle’s foodbank at The Open Door Project in Colne.

There, he and candidate Azhar Ali highlighted the record use of emergency provisions in the North West under the coalition.

He met Burnley candidate Julie Cooper at the town’s Linkbridge Community Centre before joining Will Straw on Darwen Market.

After buying a steak and kidney pie from Rushton’s Bacon Stall and strawberries from Scott Stewart’s greengrocers for his supper at home in Yorkshire, Mr Balls told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I am here because we must win these three seats if I am to present Labour’s first Budget to invest in the NHS and new doctors and nurses, cut corporation tax for small businesses and tackle low pay and zero-hours contracts.

“My message to voters in Rossendale & Darwen, Burnley and Pendle is vote for Will, Julie and Azhar if you want a government that will change things for the better. These seats are vital.”

Mr Balls dismissed Tory claims Labour spending, not the global financial crisis, caused the recession. He said: “My plans are carefully costed unlike some of the promises being thrown around by the Conservatives. Our investment in the NHS will be paid for by the mansion tax and a levy on the tobacco industry.”

“It is vital we take steps to connect East Lancashire to Manchester and the rest of the country. We will axe two road schemes in the South so projects such as the Clitheroe, Blackburn, Darwen to Manchester upgrade go ahead. We will end the scandal of Pacer trains and upgrade the East Lancashire Line.”