Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves says the Conservative economic plan ‘has been tested and has failed’

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves described “trickle-down economics” as an idea that “has been tried, has been tested and has failed”, during a speech at Labour’s conference in Liverpool.

“We are facing a national emergency,” she said. “Energy prices up, the cost of the weekly food shop up. People’s wages not keeping up.”

She chastised Kwasi Kwarteng’s fiscal plan and said, “On Friday, the chancellor had an opportunity to set out a serious response to the cost of living crisis. And he failed.”

Reeves added: “The message from financial markets was clear on Friday, and this morning the message is even more stark – sterling is down [and] that means higher prices.”

The value of the pound sterling has dropped significantly since the Conservative party’s statement on Friday. It is now at an all-time low against the US dollar.

The shadow chancellor described the Conservative party’s track record as “12 years of failure”, adding: “It’s time for a government that is on your side, and that government is a Labour government.”

She said: “The prime minister is content to let energy giants pocket the cash and leave your children and your grandchildren to pick up the tab.”

Reeves laid out what her plan would be if Labour were in power. She says Labour would use the revenue generated from reinstating a 45% tax rate to hire more NHS staff, and explained exactly how the money would be used:

“The next Labour government will double the number of district nurses qualifying every year train. We will train more than 5,000 new health visitors. We will create an additional 10,000 nursing and midwife placements every year.

We will implement the biggest expansion of medical school places in British history doubling the number of medical students so our NHS has doctors it needs.

It will fall to us to fix the damage the Tories have done. We have done it before and, conference we will do it again.”

Praising the plans laid out by the shadow chancellor, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The NHS is suffering the worst staffing crisis in its in history. This funded plan will help cut workloads, tackle the backlog and help hospitals plan for the future. NHS staff desperately need a decent pay rise.”

She used the analogy of the chancellor and prime minister resembling “two desperate gamblers in a casino, chasing a losing run. But they’re not gambling with their money, they’re gambling with yours.”