Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has unveiled a series of plans at the Labour party conference, including raising the additional rate of stamp duty for overseas buyers, establishing a Covid corruption commission, and slashing government consultancy costs.
In her wide-ranging speech, Reeves emphasised the need to "go after those that profited from the carnival of waste during the pandemic," with current estimates suggesting that Covid fraud has cost taxpayers £7.2 billion.
Key Proposals: Tackling Pandemic Fraud
One of the key proposals is the creation of a Covid corruption commissioner, supported by a team of investigators empowered to take legal action against fraudsters and recover misappropriated funds.
Reeves also aims to reduce expenditure on consultancy costs within government departments, targeting inefficiencies and waste. The plan includes cracking down on ministers' use of private jets to save millions of pounds.
Another significant measure is the increase in the rate of additional stamp duty land tax for overseas property purchasers. While the specific rates were not detailed in the speech, this change will affect non-UK residents who do not reside in the UK for at least 183 days in a 12-month period before buying a property. The final rates will be outlined in the Labour manifesto before the next general election.
Additionally, there are plans to introduce a new charter for budget responsibility, ensuring that any government's economic plans undergo forecasting by the Office of Budget Responsibility.
Pledge to Tax Energy Giants and Support NHS
Reeves also pledged to impose a windfall tax on energy giants' substantial profits, abolish the non-dom tax status, and allocate the revenue to the NHS. The tax loophole that exempts private schools from paying Value Added Tax(VAT) will be closed, with the funds redirected to support state schools.
Reeves emphasised her commitment not to raise taxes on working people and outlined Labour's strategy to stimulate business investment. She plans to boost investment as a share of GDP by adding an extra £50 billion to the economy annually.
To encourage investment, a national wealth fund will be established, with the goal of attracting three times the amount from private investors for every pound invested by the government.
Labour's Commitment to Workers and Investment
Labour also intends to ban zero-hour contracts, repeal laws on fire and hire, strengthen sick pay, and grant employees’ basic rights from the start of their employment. The national minimum wage will be increased to reflect real living costs.
In her closing remarks, Reeves highlighted the historic opportunity for a woman to become Britain's first female Chancellor of the Exchequer and affirmed Labour's readiness to serve, lead, and rebuild Britain.
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