Local election results are a resounding rejection of failed Tory policies - Rachel Reeves

Thursday’s local election results send a clear message: the country is crying out for change with Labour. It’s a set of results that doesn’t just show support across Yorkshire and the Humber, but across the whole country and puts us on a strong track for the next General Election.

Whether in the Midlands, in Stoke, down in Kent, Medway, Teesside, or the Middlesbrough mayoralty, people are ready to build a better Britain.

I know from many days spent out speaking to voters across Yorkshire ahead of this set of local elections – there was one issue that was at the front of their minds: the cost of living crisis. Whether it’s from Middlesbrough to Colne Valley or Leeds to Sheffield, Labour has been focused on our plan to relieve the cost of living burden on families.

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We’ve shown voters that as a party we have changed, working hard to earn back trust we know we lost in the last general election. We’ve focused on the priorities that matter to working people, whether that be tackling the cost of living crisis, strengthening our economy, getting crime down or getting our NHS back on its feet.

Rachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesRachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Rachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Tories haven't been talking about any of these because they crashed the economy, wasted billions, doubled the debt and they don't know how to fix it. It isn’t just that energy bills are high, or food prices are through the roof.

The Tory penalty on mortgages has seen 850,000 families re-mortgaging onto higher rates since their disastrous kamikaze budget, with a further 930,000 set to join them by the end of this year.

At the same time, we’re being clobbered by the highest tax burden since the Second World War.

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Right now, people are asking themselves: am I better off now than I was 13 years ago when the Tories came into power?

The answer – resounding from this set of local elections – is no. Never have people paid so much and got so little in return. A Labour government will change that.

We’d be getting a grip on the cost of living crisis now, bringing in proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants to freeze council tax this year.

In government, we’ll abolish the non-dom loophole – because if you live here, you should pay your taxes here – and use the money to bring in one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history.

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We’ll bring in 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on our streets, and tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour and crime. Our plans for the long term will stop us lurching from crisis to crisis.

We’ll strengthen our economy by growing it, creating good jobs and business opportunities across Yorkshire and making sure you see the benefits of that growth in your high street, your pocket and the public services you use every day.

By bringing in our Green Prosperity Plan, we will create new jobs for builders and construction managers to insulate homes; structural engineers on offshore wind farms; supply chain managers and quality technicians at gigafactories supplying the batteries for electric cars.

Our plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a fairer system will get our high streets thriving and our favourite shops, pubs and restaurants back on their feet.

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By making Britain the best place to start and grow a business, we’ll reward the entrepreneurship and creativity that runs through some of our county and our country’s greatest success stories.

Whether it’s Northern Bloc ice cream in Armley, the design and creative start ups at Sunnybank Mills or the independent pubs and breweries like Kirkstall Brewary – I know just from Leeds, that it’s the talents and efforts of working people and businesses that drive forward our economy.

The prospect of a better Britain is in our grasp. Where hard working people are rewarded, waiting lists are cut, our streets are safe again and the cost of living pain is eased.

It’s a future Labour is determined to deliver. We will stop at nothing to ensure this country once again works for those people who make up its backbone.

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We will bring the change Britain needs and set us on a path of growth, security and the promise of a better future.

I know that kind of ambition and hope underlines all of our hopes for the future of our country. And it’s that spirit of optimism that encapsulated the King’s Coronation this weekend. All of us, reflected with the sad passing of Her Majesty the Queen, on what a life in such devoted public service means. Along with other Members of Parliament, I made the oath of allegiance to our King Charles III.

Across my constituency of Leeds West, it’s been wonderful seeing decorations go up and families celebrating over the last few weeks and days.

The dignity, strength and commitment that comes from our Monarch, and the extraordinary service to the nation he is bringing is something Britain is proud of.

Rachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West.