Shadow chancellor Ed Balls
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Ed Balls defends jobs pledge

Labour has said it would offer the long-term unemployed a guarantee of a six-month job if it was in government.

Businesses would be given subsidies to hire people on a temporary basis, with those refusing a suitable job having benefits docked.

Labour said the move sent a "clear message" about its stance on welfare but admitted it could not commit to the scheme if returned to power in 2015.

David Cameron said the opposition was avoiding hard choices

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Conservative Party's plans to reduce unemployment are flawed.

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