Rachel Reeves: Stability, Investment, Reform

In a speech this morning at the Rolls-Royce site in Derby, Rachel Reeves outlined her vision for the UK economy, with the overarching message being that Labour is, now, the natural party for business. Grounded in the idea that the interests of workers and businesses are intrinsically linked, Reeves set out a bold policy agenda to support both workers and businesses simultaneously.  

Reeves highlighted a stark reality early in her speech: if the UK economy had grown at the same rate as other OECD countries, each household in Britain would be £5,000 richer, our economy would be £150 billion larger and many of the economic challenges today would have hit substantially less harshly. This, for Reeves, underscores the imperative for a robust and dynamic economic strategy which centres growth, entrepreneurialism and business in its outlook. While criticising the Conservatives’ lack of funding plans for being uncosted, Reeves clearly still believes there is a mission ahead to prove Labour will be responsible with public finances.  

Securonomics: No more playing with public finances 

Reeves spoke of a new ‘securonomics’ that will guide her principles as Britain’s first female chancellor and in addressing structural issues at play. Reeves promised drastic reforms to the planning system, following on from Darren Jones’ plans to merge the existing Infrastructure and Projects Authority and the National Infrastructure Commission to speed up our planning process and break the inertia of infrastructure delivery. Reeves promised to facilitate more efficient development processes and the need to have security in the workplace through a new deal for working people. More jobs, more rights, more businesses was an undertone message from Reeves.  

Furthermore, Reeves announced a fiscal lock, which would mandate scrutiny of any long-term or permanent economic policy by the independent OBR, and set out the plans for a roadmap in the first six months of an incoming Labour government.  

Strengthening relations abroad 

Reeves, as well as a wider assortment of senior Labour figures, have been stressing the importance for strengthening international relations as a fundamental feature of economic, domestic and global plan for governance. Reeves however has called for closer relationships with our nearest neighbours in the EU, by negotiating a new agreement on touring visas and mutual recognition of professional qualifications, seeking to ease the burden of bureaucracy and red tape. 

In addition to other Labour policies regarding working with European neighbours on defeating the gangs behind small boats crossings, this shows that Labour appears confident enough in its policy position on Europe that it can withstand any attacks from the Conservatives which argue the party is seeking to bring Britain back into the European Union. 

A vision for the future 

The speech concluded with a clear message. Understanding that stability, investment and reform are the ingredients of a comprehensive and executable plan for the future, Reeves demonstrates that, as much as possible, Labour will govern unlike any government before it, emphasising long-termism, stability and growth. The goal of achieving stability through change indicates that this is a Labour party looking well beyond its first term, but a party that is seeking to change the course of the British economy, British politics and itself as a political party, permanently.