Autumn Statement: Reeves on Labour’s spending plans
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Massive spending plans outlined by Labour just two months could now be in jeopardy following Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Budget. Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was quizzed on whether Labour would still follow through with its ambitious promises following news that the UK faces the biggest drop in living standards since records began. Speaking on BBC’s Today programme, Ms Reeves admitted that “because of the mistakes the Tories have made Labour will not be able to do everything we want as quickly as we want”.
She explained: “We don’t know the state of the public finances at the start of the next election.
“Just this year, we have had four budgets from four chancellors.
“There could be another four or eight budgets before the next election.
“I know because of the mistakes that the Conservatives have made in the last few years, Labour won’t be able to do everything we want as quickly as we want.”
BBC host Mishal Husain picked up on this point and challenged Ms Reeves to explain what Labour would do in office.
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Ms Husain said: “If you look at one of your big spending promises – the spending for the green plan – I think it means spending £28bn a year until 2030.
“To put that in perspective that is half of the defence budget. Will you still be able to do that?”
Ms Reeves insisted she was “confident about our green plan” but refused to spell out what Labour would scale back.
Ms Husain continued to press Ms Reeves, saying: “I know you can’t announce the Labour budget now but we know what could happen in terms of market reaction.”
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Also in the interview, Ms Reeves rejected calls for the UK to “soften” Brexit and rejoin the single market.
However, the shadow chancellor insisted Labour would “fix the mess” that the Conservatives had made out of leaving the EU.
Ms Reeves said that Labour would have made “different choices” than the Conservatives in the Autumn Statement.
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This comes as Jeremy Hunt vigorously defended his Statement following backlash.
Following the Statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility says household income will fall by 7 percent over the next 18 months.
He admitted that “very difficult times ahead” as he defended raising taxes.
Mr Hunt said: “It is not possible to raise £25bn of taxes from focusing on just a very small group of very rich people. I’m being very open about that.”
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