Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves promises to rebuild public finances and drive down cost of living for families in Peterborough
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Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised to rebuild public finances and support to families and businesses suffering due to the cost of living crisis.
Mrs Reeves, along with Labour parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes, visited Peterborough on Tuesday (October 4), to speak to debt advisors from the Community Money Advice (CMA) Connect Centre as well as members of the community facing spiralling costs either in their businesses or supporting their families.
Mrs Reeves heard from two families with disabled children who face energy costs of over £600 due to the costs of running all the equipment required to keep them alive.
She said: “It gives you a sense of humility listening to those stories. I was also struck that, in the midst of all they face, they are still doing all they can to help other families. It is incredibly inspiring as well as heartbreaking.
"I met two families who have disabled children who pay more than £600 a month on their energy bills. Those rising costs of living, whether it is energy prices, food or mortgage rates are putting huge pressure on the finances of people in Peterborough.
“There’s then the additional worry that disability benefits and carer’s allowance aren’t going to keep pace with the rise of inflation because the government have got a gaping black hole in the middle of its finances.
“I’ve got young children of my own and you never know what is going to happen in your life and when you may need the support of the state. For too many people, they need that support and it isn’t there. The last thing I said to one of those mums was- ‘we are supposed to live in a civilised society and it doesn’t always feel like that at the moment.’”
When asked by the Peterborough Telegraph about her plans to support families, Mrs Reeves took aim at the government’s decision not to raise benefits and support for carer’s allowance and insisted a Labour government would be committed to introducing windfall tax and ending non-domicile tax status and using the money to fund public spending.
She added: “The first thing I would say is that Labour are now the party of fiscal responsibility and social justice. We would manage the public finances so we would not have this volatility.
“The scale of the cost of living crisis is hitting families right across the spectrum. I also spoke to a man today about his daughter trying to buy her first home but is seeing the mortgage rates spiral.
"That lack of respect financial authorities has resulted in this huge volatility in the financial markets and that has a direct impact on people here in Peterborough.
"It has seen borrowing for families go up. We will do everything we can to provide that economic stability that families here need. My priority will be to rebuild the public finances and to rebuild our public services.
“We had a pharmacist here today. Anybody that is waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or an operation knows what a challenge that is. That is why I have said that as chancellor, I would abolish the non-domicile tax status and we would use that money to expand the number of medical school places, the number of training places for nurses and midwives so we have a workforce in the NHS to meet the scale of the challenge that we face.
“I don’t believe that trickle-down economics works. The Labour approach would be supporting smaller and high-street businesses in cutting and reforming business rates.
"We would invest in the industries of the future and we would give taxpayers in Peterborough a stake in those- whether it be hydrogen, factories for electric vehicles, tidal energy or offshore wind.
“Parliament should be recalled and the latest mini-budget should be reversed so that families in Peterborough aren’t having sleepless nights about what is going to happen to their mortgage when they come to the end of their fixed rate deal and to help young people who want to get onto the property latter to get onto the housing ladder.”