Rachel Reeves refuses 10 times to commit to £28 billion green spending splurge | Politics | News

February 1, 2024
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Rachel Reeves has refused 10 times in a single interview to say whether Labour is standing by its plan to splurge £28billion on green investment.

The Shadow Chancellor faced a bruising showdown on Sky News, in which Beth Rigby failed to get a firm commitment despite asking again and again.

Ms Reeves fell back on blaming the Conservatives for the havoc surrounding one of Labour’s only firm policy commitments to date.

She claimed: “The Conservatives crashed the economy and sent mortgage rates and the cost of government borrowing soaring”.

“That does change what will be possible for an incoming Labour government.”

Ms Rigby pointed out Labour is being “smashed up” over the policy by the Conservatives, who are “undoing all your good work of rebuilding trust by hitting you around the head with this number”.

She added: “You must wince at Prime Minister’s Questions!”

Also today Ms Reeves pledged Labour will not hike the rate of corporation tax during its first term.

The current 25 per cent level “strikes the correct balance”, she said during the party’s business conference at the Oval cricket ground in London.

But she hinted that she could slash it if the UK’s “competitiveness comes under threat”.

Ms Reeves and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer promised a room of 400 bosses that their party would be “pro-business” if it came into power.

Labour did not give any clarity on the circumstances or criteria under which corporation tax could fall but Ms Reeves insisted it would be kept under review.

Taking questions after her speech, she said: “The reason I said if necessary we would act, we want to stay competitive.

“And so if we found that our competitive edge on corporation tax slip we would look at that, and that’s why we set a cap of 25 per cent rather than locking it at that level, regardless of what our competitors do.”

Sir Keir was grilled by the business bosses, who reportedly paid £1,000 to attend the event, for specifics on the party’s strategies and policies.

He has attempted to win over company bosses and City investors in recent years ahead of the nation’s return to the ballot box in the second half of this year.

The party leader used his speech today to hit out at the “chopping and the changing” of recent years.

He also took a swipe at his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, telling the audience: “Let’s imagine that you were invited to an event like this, a Labour business conference, before any of the changes to our party had taken place.

“The question is, would you go?”

The attendees who spent the day networking with shadow cabinet members laughed in response.

Responding to Labour’s £28 billion flip-flopping, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott MP said: “Sir Keir Starmer has demonstrated live in front of the country’s most senior business leaders that his Labour Party is in a mess over their £28 billion unfunded spending spree and that means higher taxes.

“Today Labour have delivered nothing but uncertainty, chaos and confusion over their £28 billion pledge. Starmer cannot answer questions because he doesn’t have a plan. He fundamentally does not understand business. He is completely out of his depth.

“By sticking to the plan, Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives are strengthening the economy and the plan is working – with inflation more than halved and taxes cut for businesses and families.”



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