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Chancellor Rachel Reeves vows to 'fix foundations of economy' in first major speech

The chancellor will address business leaders in London later | UK Treasury

Chancellor Rachel Reeves vows to 'fix foundations of economy' in first major speech

Chancellor Rachel Reeves will today pledge to “fix the foundations of our economy” as she meets with business leaders in London to deliver her first major speech since Labour swept to power last week.

Reeves, who has already warned that “there’s not a huge amount of money” in the public purse, will tell those in attendance that there is “no time to waste” to deliver the change required to get the economy back on track.

“Last week, the British people voted for change and over the past 72 hours I have begun the work necessary to deliver on that mandate,” she is expected to say.

“Our manifesto was clear - sustained economic growth is the only route to improving the prosperity of our country and the living standards of working people.

“Where governments have been unwilling to take the difficult decisions to deliver growth – or have waited too long to act – I will deliver. It is now a national mission. There is no time to waste.”

Reeves is expected to say that Treasury analysis provided over the weekend has “exposed the opportunities lost” during “14 years of chaos and economic irresponsibility” under the Conservatives.  

“Had the UK economy grown at the average rate of OECD economies since 2010, it would have been over £140bn larger,” she will say.

“This could have brought in an additional £58bn in tax revenues last year alone to sustain our public services. It falls to this new government to fix the foundations.”

It comes as Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron has called for Scottish businesses to be given a “seat at the table” when it comes to developing policies targeted at economic growth.

Speaking ahead of Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s visit to Scotland on Sunday, Cameron welcomed the fact the Labour leader was meeting with First Minister John Swinney so soon after taking office and called for a similar pro-active partnership with Scottish businesses.

“Scotland faces many challenges, not least in our oil and gas sector as we transition to net zero and we urgently need detailed plans and action to protect and invest in the thousands of jobs that rely on a thriving north east economy,” she said.

“That means the new UK Government working together with Holyrood to deliver policies and support the business and energy sector.”

Cameron added: “As Scotland’s leading business organisation with 12,000 members we want a seat at that table to ensure our voice is heard and our priorities recognised.

“Labour has said economic growth is at the heart of its drive to create prosperity and that can’t be done without working closely with the business community to help deliver the most pro-growth policies to turbo-charge investment, innovation, and job creation.”

During his visit to Scotland, Starmer vowed to work constructively with the Scottish Government, saying the administrations would “work together […] straight away” to save jobs at the Grangemouth oil refinery.

The Forth Valley facility, which employs 1,300 people, plans to shut its ethanol plant early next year, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

During his visit to Edinburgh Starmer said saving jobs at the site will be a top priority for his government.

“We will start work more immediately about Grangemouth, which is obviously a source of great concern to me in terms of what steps we can now take to preserve jobs and secure [its] future,” he said.

Speaking after meeting Starmer and Scottish Secretary Ian Murray along with Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes, Swinney said they had “emphasised their joint commitment to working collaboratively on areas of shared interest”.

“I was pleased to welcome Sir Keir to Bute House so soon after his appointment as UK prime minister,” he said.

“We continued our conversation about areas of shared interest. I believe there is an opportunity for collaborative working that can make a difference to people's lives and I hope to work with Sir Keir’s new government to deliver progress for the benefit of people in Scotland.

“Following our talks, I am confident we have established the foundation for a productive relationship between our two governments based on renewed respect for the devolution settlement.

“On a personal note, having been first minister for two months and a minister for many years, I am very aware of the demands of office. I again offered Sir Keir and his family my congratulations on his appointment and my best wishes for what will be a demanding start to his term in office.”

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