Labour’s finance policy chief, Rachel Reeves, delivered a speech at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, promising to rebuild Britain if they come into power. Reeves emphasized Labour’s commitment to implementing strict fiscal rules, cracking down on fraud, and collaborating with businesses to restore stability to the economy.
Reeves took the opportunity to criticize the Conservative Party, accusing them of increasing mortgage payments and causing market chaos with uncosted spending plans under former Prime Minister Liz Truss. She argued that only Labour’s combination of responsible spending, better tax collection, and a clampdown on fraud could address the cost-of-living crisis and provide much-needed stability for voters.
Reeves received a standing ovation after declaring that Labour would improve living standards, make work more rewarding, invest in public services, and support homegrown industries across the country. With Labour currently leading in opinion polls ahead of an expected election next year, the party has been actively engaging with businesses, as evidenced by their “business day” event, which has a waiting list of participants.
Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney surprised attendees by endorsing Reeves as a “serious economist” with a strong grasp of the bigger picture. In a video message played at the conference, Carney called for her ideas and energy to be put into action.
Reeves also outlined Labour’s plans to boost investment and expedite the planning process for critical infrastructure projects in energy, transport, and technology within the first six months of a Labour government. She pledged to restore business investment as a percentage of GDP to levels seen during the last Labour government, which would inject an additional £50 billion into the economy annually by the end of the decade, equivalent to £1,700 per household.
Reeves acknowledged the challenging state of Britain’s public finances, which will limit the party’s actions if they come to power. To strengthen Labour’s economic reputation, the party has committed to a “non-negotiable” set of fiscal rules, ensuring that borrowing is not used for day-to-day spending and setting an annual budget by the end of November each year.
A recent opinion poll conducted by MHP/Savanta with the New Statesman Spotlight indicated that Labour’s efforts to engage with businesses have paid off, with the Conservatives no longer seen as the preferred party by polled business leaders. Companies have reportedly lined up to speak with Labour, hoping to have their concerns prioritized. One director at a major manufacturing company stated that he was sending a larger team to Labour’s event than he did to the Conservatives’ conference the previous week.
Labour leader Keir Starmer also addressed the conference, expressing his willingness to learn from and partner with businesses. He emphasized the importance of a collaborative approach between government and companies, stating that if Labour forms the government, businesses will be entering government with them.
With Labour’s strong position in the polls and their increased engagement with businesses, the party is demonstrating its commitment to rebuilding the economy, improving living standards, and fostering partnerships with the private sector.
More detail via The Straits Times here… ( Image via The Straits Times )