Budget  

Labour: Mini-Budget 'an admission of 12 years of economic failure'

"The oil and gas producers will be toasting the chancellor in the boardrooms as we speak, while working people are left to pick up the bill.

"Borrowing higher than it needs to be just as interest rates rise and yet the chancellor refuses to allow independent economic forecasts to be published, which would show the impact of this borrowing on our public finances, on growth and on inflation."

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She also pointed to concerns from within the Conservative party about some of the measures that were included in the new strategy, such as keeping corporation tax low.

She said: "Evidence shows that low rates of corporation tax are not the best way to boost investment and productivity and the Tories' own record shows that. Britain has the lowest headline rate of corporation tax in the G7 but we also have the lowest rates of business investments of the G7.

"That's why Labour would do what businesses are actually asking for, using targeted investment allowances to boost productivity and growth and scrapping outdated and unfair business rates that harm our high streets and small businesses, replacing them with a system that's fit for the 21st century."

Taking aim at the government's plans to create low tax investment zones, she said these were now new. "Every time they were tried, all they have achieved was moving growth around the country, not creating it.

"The best way out of the high tax low growth spiral that the Conservatives have created is to get the economy firing on all cylinders in all parts of the country.

"The chancellor has made clear who his priorities are today, not a plan for growth, a plan to reward the already wealthy, a return to the trickle down of the past. Back to the future, not a brave new era."

No independent forecast

Reeves also criticised the government's refusal to allow the Office for Budget Responsibility to publish an independent economic forecast based on the proposed measures.

The chancellor said a forecast would be published later this year and in the new year.

But Reeves said: "Mr Speaker, it is unprecedented to have a fiscal statement of this scale with no independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Never has a government borrowed so much and explained so little.

"Economic institutions matter, yet this government has undermined the Bank of England, sacked the respected permanent secretary at the Treasury and silenced the Office for Budget Responsibility. This is no way to build confidence. This is no way to build economic growth."

She said today's statement was "more than a clash of policies. It is a clash of ideas, two different ideas about how our country prospers.