politics

Rachel Reeves vows to be Britain’s first ‘green chancellor’ in speech at Labour Party conference



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achel Reeves today vowed to be Britain’s first “green chancellor” as she promised “an additional” £28 billion a year to tackle the climate crisis.

In her first party conference speech as shadow chancellor, Ms Reeves said she would commit an extra £224 billion over the rest of the decade to invest in new green technologies including battery factories for electric vehicles, offshore wind farms and more cycle paths.

Labour officials said the money would come from borrowing — although they stressed the party would stick to “strong fiscal rules”.

“As chancellor I will not shirk our responsibility to future generations and to workers and businesses in Britain,” she said, urging the Conservatives to match the spending pledge.

“No dither, no delay. Labour will meet the challenge head on and seize the opportunities of the green transition. We will provide certainty and show leadership in this decisive decade.”

With Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer desperate to draw a line under the Jeremy Corbyn era and prove Labour can be trusted to run the economy, Ms Reeves said the party would commit to balancing the budget and to reduce public debt as share of national income.

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The shadow chancellor, who has only been in the job since May, said Labour would scrap business rates and carry out a sweeping review of tax reliefs although she has said the VAT exemption on food would not go.

She also insisted today that the party had no plans to look at increasing income tax, although Sir Keir yesterday suggested “nothing was off the table”.

“Keir Starmer and myself are both very clear,” Ms Reeves told BBC Breakfast. “We have no plans whatsoever to look at income tax. We have no plans to raise it.”

Having opposed the Government’s plans to increase National Insurance to pay for the NHS and social care, which will raise £12 billion a year, she stressed Labour’s move to cut and then abolish business rates would be paid for initially by the UK’s digital services tax for online firms.



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