Rachel Reeves’s ‘mad’ spending plans are attacked by the Left, who accuse the shadow chancellor of planning to be ‘even stricter than the Tories’ – while Conservatives urge her to ‘come clean’ on how she would manage the nation’s finances
- Last night Reeves was accused of ‘slapping handcuffs’ on Labour ambitions
Rachel Reeves was last night accused of a ‘mad plan’ that would ‘strangle hope’ of any real change under a future Labour government.
Left-wing MPs launched a fierce assault on the Shadow Chancellor for planning to be ‘even stricter than the Tories’ on public spending.
Ms Reeves also faced calls from the Tories to ‘come clean’ on how she would manage the nation’s finances.
The row broke out over her pledge to introduce ‘a new set of fiscal rules’ to apply to ‘every decision taken by a Labour government. We will not borrow to fund day-to-day spending and we will reduce national debt as a share of the economy.’
The vow, repeated in the party’s pre-manifesto National Policy Forum review, is designed to reassure wavering voters that Labour can be trusted with taxpayers’ money.
Rachel Reeves was last night accused of a ‘mad plan’ that would ‘strangle hope’ of any real change under a future Labour government
Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, also raised fears that under Sir Keir Starmer the party was retreating into ‘miserable managerialism’
But last night the Shadow Chancellor was accused of ‘slapping handcuffs’ on Labour ambitions to effect real change.
One senior MP, who served as a Shadow Minister under Jeremy Corbyn, said: ‘Elections are about hope versus fear. But Rachel’s mad plan strangles the hope before we even get to a General Election.
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If Labour goes into the next Election ruling out borrowing to fund day-to-day spending, which includes benefits, what happens if the economy takes a downturn? Do we just cut services? We’re ruling out major tax rises so what else do we do?’
The MP added that even so-called moderate Labour MPs were ‘alarmed at Rachel’s spending straitjacket’.
The warning came as the boss of the party’s biggest donor accused Labour of lacking ambition and ‘playing it safe’. Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, also raised fears that under Sir Keir Starmer the party was retreating into ‘miserable managerialism’.
At the conference today, the Shadow Chancellor will be urged to find £15 billion to restore public sector workers’ pay to 2010 levels in real terms.
Beth Winter, a member of the party’s Socialist Campaign Group, will say that restoring the workers’ pay to at least those levels ‘has to be our goal’.
A source close to Ms Reeves declined to be drawn on the plea last night, saying: ‘We will set out all of our tax and spend plans at the Election’. But he appeared to seek to calm criticism of her plans by saying that during an economic crisis and recovery from it, Labour would ‘clearly set out when we would return to paying for all day-to-day spending’.
Tory MP Alexander Stafford said last night: ‘Rachel Reeves should come clean now on exactly what she means.
‘Otherwise, it’s safe to conclude that Labour is just pretending that it can be trusted with taxpayers’ money when in reality it would let rip and plunge us in the mess they left us with in 2010.’
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