Reeves says Tories ‘haven’t learned lesson’ as she attacks Hunt’s tax plans

The shadow chancellor has criticised Jeremy Hunt’s plans for further “uncosted, unfunded tax cuts”, suggesting they would cause a repeat of the 2022 mini-budget.

Labour’s Rachel Reeves said the Conservatives would “do exactly the same thing all over again” to the economy if they won the General Election on July 4 as she hit the campaign trail in west London.

In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, the Chancellor signalled his party would seek to end the impact of tapering of personal allowances on larger incomes if re-elected and said inheritance tax was “profoundly anti-Conservative”.

Ms Reeves met supermarket workers on Saturday to talk about the cost-of-living crisis after describing Labour as the party of “stability and tough spending” in her own Daily Mail article.

General Election campaign 2024
Ms Reeves was shown around an Iceland store by the the company’s managing director Richard Walker (left) (Yui Mok/PA)

“The Conservatives haven’t learned that lesson, and putting forward unfunded commitments is something that I would never do, because when you play fast and loose with the public finances, it is ordinary working people that pay the price.

“We saw that with the Conservatives’ mini-budget, the risk of another five years of Conservatives is that they do exactly the same thing all over again.”

Ms Truss’s tenure in Downing Street lasted just 49 days after her mini-budget in September 2022 triggered mass market turmoil.

Ms Reeves stressed the need for “more stability” as she spoke with Iceland employees during her visit.

One staff member said they were “looking forward to some change”, while another said they had experienced “one hit after the other” since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shadow chancellor told reporters she had no plans to increase taxes, and that Labour would crack down on tax avoidance and applying VAT and business rates to private schools.

General Election campaign 2024
Labour candidate Ben Coleman will be hoping to unseat Greg Hands at the upcoming General Election (Yui Mok/PA)

“I won’t shirk from those challenges.”

Ms Reeves was joined by Labour’s candidate for the Chelsea and Fulham constituency Ben Coleman on her visit.

The seat has been held by business minister Greg Hands since 2005, who won a majority of more than 11,000 at the 2019 General Election.

Mr Coleman told the PA news agency he was not being complacent but felt Labour had “a better chance than we ever have” to win the seat.

He said: “I just think there are so many former Conservatives who just don’t want to vote for the Conservatives this time, and I hope that they’ll feel that the Labour Party represents hope, because that’s what’s in short supply at the moment.”

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