- Shadow Chancellor’s plans were ridiculed on air by the former Labour politician
Rachel Reeves was mocked yesterday as she struggled to explain what Labour would do differently in government.
The Shadow Chancellor’s plans for the economy were ridiculed on air by former Labour politician turned Sky News host Sir Trevor Phillips, who branded them ‘small change’.
Sir Trevor accused her of planning ‘to stick with the Conservatives‘ spending plans’ during the clash.
Ms Reeves insisted the party planned to cancel the non-dom tax status, raising £2 billion a year, and abolish tax breaks for private schools. But Sir Trevor responded; ‘You have committed that in various ways but in an economy worth trillions, it is marginal.’
He added: ‘You are giving me examples where you would change things by a few billion a year. Public spending is running now at what? About £400 billion a year. What you are proposing is small change.’
Ms Reeves insisted that ‘we haven’t committed to the Conservatives’ spending plans’, saying of the changes she outlined: ‘We would put all of that money into our public services.
‘But the key difference between Labour’s plans and the Conservatives’ plans is that we have a plan to grow the economy.’
She said a Labour government would also overhaul planning laws to make it easier to build homes.
But Sir Trevor pointed out that the housing target had not been achieved since the 1970s and asked her why she would be any different to a long succession of Chancellors.
Attempting to put pressure on the Tories over tax cuts, Ms Reeves suggested she would cut duties, saying ‘taxes are too high on working people’.
‘They need more money in their pockets,’ she added.
In one dividing line with the Conservatives, Ms Reeves warned a move to cut inheritance tax would be wrong during a cost-of-living crisis.
She said: ‘I understand people’s desire to pass on to their children what they have worked hard for, but right now that is not the right thing to do and we would not support it.’
Laura Trott, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Rachel Reeves admitted this morning that Labour would take a ‘short-term’ approach to the economy – sticking to the same old Labour approach of taking the easy way out.
‘Labour’s plan to borrow £28 billion every year would hike up interest rates and inflation, meaning higher costs and a worse quality of life for British families.
‘Rishi Sunak made it his top priority to halve inflation by the end of this year and we have delivered it, easing pressure on families across the country. The Conservatives are the only party that will keep taking the long-term decisions needed to build a brighter future for all.’