Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Labour MP, Rachel Reeves has pledged that the Labour party will restore economic credibility.
The Labour party is trying to show that it can provide an alternative to Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, who have been in power since 2010.
The party is also trying to bolster its front-runner status in opinion polls before UK’s 2024 election.
The party is running 15 or more points ahead of the governing Conservatives in multiple opinion polls.
Speaking to delegates at the party’s annual conference, Reeves averred, “I make this commitment to you, and to the country. Out of the wreckage of Tory misrule, Labour will restore our economic stability.”
“We will lift living standards, make work pay, rebuild our public services, invest in homegrown industries in every corner of our country and together, we will get Britain its future back.”Rachel Reeves
Reeves said a Labour government would get the economy growing faster to fund public services and boost investment through a new national wealth fund.
She pledged to build 1.5 million homes to ease Britain’s chronic housing crisis, reform an “antiquated” planning system Labour says is holding back infrastructure improvements, and repair the creaking, overburdened state-funded National Health Service.
Reeves disclosed that the Labour party would increase stamp duty for people from overseas buying property.
She says it would use the revenue to fund housebuilding.
“It is not right that, while so many people are struggling, many homes are bought by overseas buyers, who may own a property but leave it vacant; driving up prices, while families and young people are desperate to get on to the housing ladder.”Rachel Reeves
Money for health and education will come from abolishing “non-domiciled” tax status, which allows some wealthy individuals to avoid paying U.K. tax, and ending private schools’ tax-free status, she said.
Reeves said Labour also will strengthen workers’ rights and abolish “zero hours” contracts that do not guarantee employees a minimum number of hours a week.
“Today I can announce three further fronts in Labour’s war on waste,” Reeves stressed.
“First, we will crack down on Tory ministers’ private jet habit…Second, we will slash government consultancy spending, which has almost quadrupled in just six years.
“…And third, we will go after those who profited from the carnival of waste during the pandemic.”Rachel Reeves
Reeves also said a Labour government would appoint a “COVID corruption commissioner” to try to recoup some of the billions lost to fraud and waste during the pandemic.
Reeves said the commissioner would bring together tax officials, fraud investigators and law enforcement officers to track down an estimated 7.2 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) in lost public money spent on grants and contracts related to COVID-19, and “get back every penny of taxpayers’ money that they can.”
Reeves said Darren Jones, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, will carry out a review into how major capital projects covering energy, defence and IT can be delivered more quickly.
The review will be ongoing and will inform Labour’s policy development in opposition, as well as supporting an incoming government to make quick improvements to project delivery to secure the maximum benefits from important major projects that are currently live.
CBI And TUC Welcome Reeves’ Speech
The speech was broadly welcomed by both business and workers’ groups.
Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Executive of the Confederation of British Industry(CBI) said,“Businesses will be encouraged to hear the shadow chancellor speak so ambitiously about driving up business investment and committing to tackle some of the key blockers.”
“Business need certainty and stability in areas like tax, regulation, planning and policy. Businesses will welcome the focus on planning and infrastructure delivery, Newton-Smith added.
In addition, Paul Nowak, the TUC General Secretary, said, “Working people need an economy that delivers for all – not just a wealthy few.”
“But the Tories have failed them,” Nowak stated.
“They have presided over the longest pay squeeze in modern history, anaemic growth and an explosion in insecure work,” he added.
“Labour’s plan for decent work and increased investment will rebuild our infrastructure hand in hand with unions and employers, and deliver the economic growth and boost to living standards this country has been crying out for.”Paul Nowak
Gary Smith, the General Secretary of the GMB trade union, also said that Reeves’ speech “gave a far-sighted vision of a better U.K.”