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Reeves makes pledge not to hammer the rich

Rachel Reeves: doing whatever it takes (pic: Terry Murden)

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has said the party will not create any new wealth taxes if it wins the next general election.

Rachel Reeves has also committed to not raising capital gains tax and the top rate of income tax.

She made the pledges as part of Labour’s policy towards business and the economy and a focus on funding public services through growth. Maintaining a lower tax base forms a key plank in stimulating private investment.

Ms Reeves told The Sunday Telegraph: “I don’t see the way to prosperity as being through taxation,” but added that she would do “whatever it takes” to attract business investments as a route to economic growth.

A key part of that growth is expected to be an overhaul of planning laws to make it easier to build green infrastructure, and a new national wealth fund that would invest £2 billion to help “crowd-in” private-sector investment into eight new gigafactories to produce batteries for zero-emission cars.

The party has been at pains to regain credibility in its potential handling of the economy in a departure from Corbyn-era policies which were attacked as being unfeasible.

Ms Reeves said that her party’s preparations have included “spending an awful lot of time with businesses”.

Labour has seen a surge in interest for its business forum at the annual conference. It argues that the latest figures show that the number of attendees has risen by 50% in a year.

The forum is described as the conference’s “flagship engagement event for business” and the website for the event says that no more tickets are available.

SNP MP Stewart Hosie said Labour’s refusal to commit to any form of wealth tax underlines “how indistinguishable they are from the Tories”.

He said: “In their desperate attempt to appeal to Tory voters, the Labour Party’s tax policy now comes straight from the Tory manifesto. 

“This latest capitulation now means the Labour Party and the Tories agree on taxation, the two-child cap, the rape clause, the bedroom tax, Brexit, the undemocratic House of Lords, and Scotland’s right to decide its own future.

“Voters across the UK will now rightly ask: what is the point of the Labour Party?

“At the next election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to deliver real change and real hope – and send a clear message to Keir Starmer that being a Tory-lite tribute act will not cut it.”

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