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Labour to grow economy through building plan

Rachel Reeves addressing Lab conf 2023
Rachel Reeves addressing conference

Labour wants to fund growth in the economy by changing the planning system to help kickstart major infrastructure projects.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves told her party’s annual conference in Liverpool that encouraging growth is the key to financing Britain’s struggling public services.

“If we want to spur investment, restore economic security, and revive growth. Then we must get Britain building again,” Reeves told delegates.

Referencing the cancelled HS2 project, she said: “If the Tories won’t build, if the Tories can’t build, then we will. Taking head on the obstacles presented by our antiquated planning system.”

She outlined Labour’s plans to ease the building of critical infrastructure for energy, transport and technology, by speeding up its planning within the first six months of government, fast-tracking the planning process for priority growth areas and providing incentives to local communities.

Labour wants to restore business investment as a share of gross domestic product to the level under the last Labour government in 1997 to 2010.

Rachel Reeves: ‘we must get Britain building’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Ms Reeves said this would mean an additional £50 billion more every year in the British economy by the end of the decade – the equivalent to £1,700 per household.

Labour has moved to cast off its image as a spendthrift party, promising to stick to a “non-negotiable” set of fiscal rules to ensure the party does not borrow to fund day-to-day spending and to set a budget every year by the end of November.

It has been rewarded with a big turn-out of business leaders at this year’s conference and support from the likes of former Bank of England governor Mark Carney who said he would like to see Ms Reeves at the Treasury.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:  “It was encouraging to hear the Shadow Chancellor recognising the central role that business has within the economy. 

“The BCC’s own research shows that business investment has been flatlining for far too long and we welcome the aspiration to grow the economy by an additional £50bn a year. 

“Unlocking our planning system and reducing the vast backlogs business face around grid connectivity would certainly go a long way to helping this. 

“The commitment to invest more into the green innovation sector, including carbon-capture, windfarms, retro-fitting homes and electric car batteries is also welcome. 

“We look forward to seeing more meat on the bones on the mechanics of this large-scale vision to ensure it works at the ground-level for businesses. 

“While we also welcomed the desire to protect the UK from global supply chain shocks, we would like to hear more about how a Labour government would boost the UK’s international trading prospects. Growing the UK’s exports in both goods and services is critical to securing our economic future.” 

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