Rachel Reeves MP was the guest speaker at our supper club fund-raiser in Adderbury on 11th September and in a thorough and devastating analysis of the Coalition Government’s disastrous handling of the economy, she urged members to use the opportunity to get Labour’s messages across on the doorstep.
Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was introduced by Henry Goodman, the Chair of Banbury CLP, as one of Labour’s rising young stars.
She said there had been a huge turnaround in Labour’s popularity with a 5-11% lead over the Tories in the polls and very positive feedback coming from focus groups. But she didn’t shy away from the reality of the tough decisions needed over public spending, taxation and public sector pay.
She said the problems in the Euro zone were having a profound effect and we were in the longest recession since WW2, with 2.6 million people unemployed, the highest in 17 years, and 1 million young people out of work. Britain, she said, was the only G20 country that has gone back into recession.
With the government borrowing 28% more than last year, they admit that their deficit reduction programme will have to continue for at least two years into the next parliament.
Rachel said that Ed Balls’ 5 point plan to invigorate the economy was a good start to create jobs and restore growth in the economy: a reduction in VAT to 17.5%, a 5% VAT rate for home improvements, a temporary national insurance holiday for small firms taking on workers, a repeat of this year’s bankers’ bonus tax and some serious infrastructure investment.
She said, “A future Labour Government needs a radical agenda that fits the values of the British people”. “Values”, she went on to say, “brilliantly displayed in the Olympic opening ceremony, emphasizing Britain’s multi-culturalism and the jewel in our crown, the NHS”.
She said, “people are angry about how public sector workers are portrayed as somehow of less value than ‘the wealth creators’ so often lauded by the Tories. She thought the tide is turning, particularly after the G4S fiasco at the Olympics, because people realise that there are many services that just can’t be provided by the private sector.
An explanation was given of the newish concept of ‘pre-distribution’ which is fundamentally changing the way markets work to one in which the proceeds of growth are shared amongst ordinary working people. This includes encouraging organisations in both public and private sectors to pay a ‘living wage’.
The Banbury Labour Party holds several supper clubs every year and it is a great opportunity for members and guests to engage in debate with Labour MP’s and others in the public eye. Our next guest speaker is Tom Watson MP, who played a leading role in exposing the illegal hacking carried out by the Murdoch press. It’s not to be missed! 8th November at The Institute Adderbury.