As the general election approaches, there are more and more speeches and TV interviews for politicians.

This means the chance of a political gaff has dramatically increased.

One such mess-up happened when the shadow chancellor Ed Balls appeared on Newsnight.

Usually a capable media performer, the Labour front bencher forgot the name of a business leader supporting his party's plans.

He explained to presenter Emily Matlis that he had been at a meeting with a number of business supporters.

But when asked who, he could only name "Bill'", a former chief executive of EDS.

Matlis pushed for a surname but Balls couldn't provide the goods.

It turned out to be Bill Thomas and David Cameron seized on the gaff at Prime Minister's Questions.

"Do you know what he said, Mr Speaker?" He said: 'Bill Somebody.' Mr Speaker, Bill Somebody's not a person; Bill somebody is Labour's policy," the prime minister joked.

Elsewhere, the secretary of state for work and pensions outlined his 'quiet revolution' for welfare reform.

Iain Duncan Smith stressed that the next parliament must be about getting money flowing to "where it will have the most impact".

The senior Tory, speaking at an event hosted by thinktank Reform, also said there is still "much more" to do in order to "unleash the full potential of the so called social investment market".

"Broadly unnoticed amongst commentators in the media, we are developing a way to ensure that government – and local government – spending can be tied to outcomes," he added.

"Particularly for councils, as we look to the future, it means the end of going cap in hand to central government, reliant on ever-changing political whims and uncertain short-term grants.

"Instead, local Government will be able to leverage its own long-term investment, freed up from central control, to capitalise on what the Social Investment Taskforce have identified as the 'first trillion' of potential investment money."

Finally, a poll from Lord Ashcroft revealed that Labour and the Lib Dems could face disaster in Scotland at the general election.

The survey, of some key seats, found that Alex Salmond is on to take Gordon from the Liberal Democrats and Douglas and Danny Alexander – a Labour and Lib Dem heavy weight – could lose their seats to the SNP.

The figures mean it looks like the SNP could be king makers, while severely denting Ed Miliband's chances of becoming the next prime minister.