The Tories are gaslighting the British public on the economy - Rachel Reeves

As the dust from the local elections settles, the verdict is clear. From the market towns of North Yorkshire to the home of the British army in Rushmoor, in England’s great cities and across the Midlands, people voted for change.

These results show that there are no more no-go areas for the Labour Party.

And it’s not just about where you live but who you are because if you are a young person starting out in life; if you’re at work and starting a family; or you’re planning for, or in, retirement; this Labour Party will fight for you.

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This Labour Party will serve your interests and we will continue to work to earn your trust.

Rachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Jordan Pettitt/PA WireRachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
Rachel Reeves is Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP for Leeds West. PIC: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

Keir Starmer and I know that if we are to change our country, to invest sustainably in our public services, to make working people better off, then building a stronger, more dynamic economy must come first.

By the time of the next election, we can - and should - expect interest rates to be lower, Britain to be out of recession and inflation to have returned to the Bank of England’s target. Indeed, these things could happen this month.

I already know what the Prime Minister and Chancellor will say in response to one or all these events happening. They have been saying it for months now.

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‘Our plan is working.’ ‘The economy is turning a corner.’ ‘Stick with us.’

In fact, that’s almost exactly what the Prime Minister said in his statement following the disaster that was the Conservatives’ local election performance.

But I want to take those arguments head on because they do not speak to economic reality. During the local elections I travelled across the country. I spoke to hundreds of people. I listened to their stories.

When they hear government ministers telling them that they have never had it so good. That they should look out for the ‘feel good factor’. All they hear is a government that is deluded and completely out of touch with realities on the ground.

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The Conservatives are gaslighting the British public. They say we’ve turned a corner but try telling that to the 6.4 million households across England and Wales that last year saw their rent increase or had to re-mortgage. Or the 950,000 families whose mortgage deal is due to expire between now and January.

They say ‘the plan is working’. Is this the same plan that has meant this is forecast to be the first Parliament on record with living standards actually lower at its end than at the start?

Our economy is smaller per person than it was when Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister. And our economy is forecast by the OECD to grow by just one per cent next year, weaker than every other G20 country except Russia.

And they ask people to stick with the Conservatives. But it is those very Conservatives who are set to leave the average household £870 worse off through stealth taxes and hikes in council tax.

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The Prime Minister claims he is delivering for the country – but the British people didn’t order what the Tories are delivering.

If you want to know what five more years of the Conservatives would look like, just look at their record over the last 14.

An abridged version of a speech by Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor and MP for Leeds West, at the City of London.

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