Reeves: working people will be better off with Labour

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will today (Monday 9 October) promise working people they will be better off with Labour as she announces once in a generation reform as part of the party’s pledge to get Britain building again.

Addressing the Labour Party’s annual conference in Liverpool, Reeves will vow to accelerate the building of critical infrastructure for digital connectivity, laboratories, and energy – to drive growth, create jobs and unlock private sector investment.

The reforms would include:

·       Speeding up the planning for critically important infrastructure by updating all national policy statements – which set out what types of projects the country needs – within the first six months of a Labour government

·       Fast tracking the planning process for priority growth areas of the economy, such as battery factories, laboratories, and 5G infrastructure

·       Ensuring local communities get something back by providing businesses and communities with a menu of potential incentives, which could include cheaper energy bills

·       Tackling unnecessary, egregious, and time-consuming litigation by setting clearer national guidance for developers on the engagement and consultation expected with local communities

·       Strengthening public sector capacity to expedite planning decisions by raising the stamp duty surcharge on non-UK residents to appoint 300 new planning officers

Reeves will say that “the single biggest obstacle to building infrastructure, to investment and to growth in this country is the Conservative Party”. 

The last Labour government delivered HS1 on time, under budget and at a cost of £50million per mile, comparable to France and Japan. Under the Conservatives, HS2 has failed to be delivered and cost the taxpayer £400 million per mile, making it the most expensive railway in the world.

Analysis by the engineering consultancy ARUP calculates that by following best practice infrastructure projects can be delivered 25 per cent cheaper and 20 per cent quicker than now, and deliver a better deal for taxpayers, businesses and local communities.

She will also pledge to restore business investment as a share of GDP to the level it was under the last Labour government. 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. 

In her speech, Rachel Reeves is expected to say:

“Labour’s task is to restore hope to our politics. The hope that lets us face the future with confidence, with a new era of economic security because there is no hope without security.

“You cannot dream big if you cannot sleep in peace at night. The peace that comes from knowing you have enough to put aside for a rainy day and the knowledge that, when you need them, strong public services will be there for you and your family.

“The strength that allows a society to withstand global shocks because it is from those strong foundations of security, that hope can spring. 

“The choice at the election is this. Five more years of the Tory chaos and uncertainty, which has left working people worse off or a changed Labour Party ready to strengthen Britain’s foundations, so working people are better off.”

On Labour’s plans to get Britain building again, she is expected to say:

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

“The Tories would have you believe we can’t build anything anymore. In fact, the single biggest obstacle to building infrastructure, to investment and to growth in this country is the Conservative Party itself.

“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.

“Since 2012, decision times for national infrastructure have increased by 65 per cent, now taking four years. Labour stands with the builders not the blockers.

“So today I am announcing our plans to get Britain building. A once in a generation set of reforms to accelerate the building of critical infrastructure for energy, transport, and technology. To fast-track battery factories, life sciences and 5G infrastructure and to tackle the litigation which devours time and money before we ever see shovels in the ground.

“And to make sure that when a local community hosts critical national infrastructure, they will feel the benefits, including lower energy bills. 

“It is time we had a government with ambition for our communities. A government siding with the builders not the blockers. A government that will get Britain building again.”