July 18, 2024

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the shadow chancellor prepares for government

2 min read

Rachel Reeves is getting ready for government. She stresses that no votes have been cast, but she plans to hit the ground running if — as seems increasingly likely — she walks into 11 Downing Street on July 5 as Britain’s first female chancellor.

In an audacious move that is likely to have Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spluttering, Reeves will on Monday host a breakfast meeting of her “shadow” British Infrastructure Council, assembling some big names in UK finance to discuss her plans for government.

“We’re going to take that council into government with us — the 10 members of that council will continue to work with us and advise us,” she said in an interview at the FT’s offices looking over the City of London skyline.

It is a statement that simultaneously reflects both her determination to show she is serious about working with business, and her belief that Labour is about to win. Polls give the party a 20-point lead over the Conservatives, with polling day less than three weeks away.

Sunak’s team successfully lobbied business leaders to stop Reeves convening her advisory panel at the time of Labour’s party conference last year; now, in the middle of an election campaign, City leaders will be eating croissants with the shadow chancellor on Monday.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves with business leaders at EY’s offices in London on Friday © Charlie Bibby/FT

Labour says chief executives attending include Andrea Rossi of M&G, Charlie Nunn of Lloyds Banking Group and Mike Regnier of Santander, along with senior executives from investment firms CDPQ, IFM Investors, Border To Coast, Pension Insurance Corporation and BlackRock.

Separately, Sir John Kingman, chair of Legal & General, endorsed Reeves’s approach. “There is a huge need and opportunity to raise investment across the UK,” he said. “I greatly welcome Labour’s commitment to address this, especially if they can deliver on planning reform, housing delivery and reducing crazy…

2024-06-16 16:00:08

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