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U.K.’s Osborne Says Balls’s Attack on King Was ‘Immature’

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the opposition Treasury spokesman, Ed Balls, had been “a little immature” in his attack on Bank of England Governor Mervyn King.

Balls said in the Feb. 17 edition of the Financial Times that King should avoid being “drawn into the political arena” and not associate himself “too closely” with the government’s “extreme” deficit-reduction plans.

“It’s a little immature frankly,” Osborne told reporters in Paris yesterday, following a meeting of G-20 finance ministers. “What Ed Balls needs to come to terms with is the fact that he is isolated on this issue of the British deficit. He created the policies that created the deficit and he doesn’t want to admit that he got it wrong.”

Balls’s remarks may revive controversy over King’s role in politics after Bank of England policy maker Adam Posen said in November he was “uncomfortable” with the bank’s support last year for the government’s deficit-cutting program. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said last week that King has “stepped way over the line” and had become a “cheerleader” for the fiscal plan.

King said May 12, a day after Cameron’s Conservatives formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, that he was “very pleased” with the new government’s budget proposals. Chancellor George Osborne said in December that King should be free to express his views on fiscal policy.

Balls, 43, once the closest aide to former Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was named as opposition Treasury spokesman less than a month ago by Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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