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Video: Shadow chancellor Ed Balls says Lotus jobs shock leaves questions unanswered on trip to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:54 01 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:54 01 October 2014

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls chats to Neide Beck, cleaning supervisor with Interserve, and Stuart Wright, member of the national living wage council, during his visit to Aviva's Marble Hall to talk about paying a living wage. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls chats to Neide Beck, cleaning supervisor with Interserve, and Stuart Wright, member of the national living wage council, during his visit to Aviva's Marble Hall to talk about paying a living wage. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

copyright: Archant 2014

Has the government done enough to support Lotus and has the Norfolk car manufacturer done enough with the millions of pounds it received from the regional growth fund to save jobs here in the county?

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls raised those questions on a visit to Norwich last night and vowed that the Labour Party would do what it could to put pressure on the government to help the Norfolk sports car manufacturer, which recently announced plans to make 325 staff redundant – a figure equal to 27pc of its global workforce.

Mr Balls said: “Lotus has always been a very important employer here in Norwich and Norfolk and has been around a very long time. It’s clearly working in a very competitive environment around the world and they’re saying they’ve got to cut their costs and who are we to second guess those business decisions.

“We want to make sure have to make sure the government does everything it can to back businesses to succeed. I think there’s a real question – has the government done enough to support Lotus and has Lotus done enough from the money it had from the regional growth fund to secure jobs here in the city?

“That’s something I’m sure MPs and government ministers should be asking about and something Labour will put the pressure on about.”

Mr Balls was speaking on a visit to Aviva in the city where he learnt how the living wage was making a “massive difference” to employees.

He said: “The Living Wage Week here in Norwich is coming up in just a months time and its really striking talking to employees here at Aviva - it’s made a real difference to their lives. We’re talking to people employed in the cleaning side and catering side, their wages have gone up and they are saying for the first time they can save and afford to travel and go back and see family so its had a big impact.”

Mr Balls said it was great to see Aviva utilising the living wage to boost morale among its workforce but also praised the city as a whole for the way it has embraced the idea.

He said: “It’s great to see Aviva taking the lead but actually its Norwich taking the lead – it’s being embraced right across the city and its great to see Norwich leading the campaign to make work pay for working people across the city.”

The living wage aims to better reflect the cost of living by paying staff £7.65 per hour instead of the national minimum wage of £6.31.

Have you got a business story? Email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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