Labour’s financial plans descend into chaos as Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves refuses to back pledge to give doctors a 35% pay rise
- Shadow Chancellor refused to back pledge to give junior doctors 35% pay rise
- Health spokesman Wes Streeting said Labour to raise pay ‘as quickly as we can’
Labour’s financial plans descended into chaos yesterday as Rachel Reeves refused to back a Shadow Cabinet colleague’s pledge to give doctors a 35 per cent rise.
Health spokesman Wes Streeting had vowed Labour would meet union calls for the pay increase ‘as quickly as we can’.
But Shadow Chancellor Ms Reeves failed to offer striking junior doctors the same guarantee. She sidestepped the question when asked when Labour would act on Mr Streeting’s pledge, saying: ‘I think it’s really important that the Government get around the table with public sector workers and the trade unions that represent them. If we were in Government today, that’s what we would have done.’
Mr Streeting had told ITV: ‘I’ve got to be honest as well and say I can’t do 35 per cent overnight. We’ll do it as quickly as we can.’
Junior doctors in England are set to walk out for 96 hours from April 11. The Government insists the unions have made it a ‘precondition of the talks’ to commit to a 35 per cent pay rise.
Labour’s financial plans descended into chaos yesterday as Rachel Reeves (pictured) refused to back a Shadow Cabinet colleague’s pledge to give doctors a 35 per cent rise
Health spokesman Wes Streeting (pictured) had vowed Labour would meet union calls for the pay increase ‘as quickly as we can’
It came as Sir Keir Starmer launched Labour’s local elections campaign in Swindon with a pledge to freeze council tax next year.
Sir Keir said that if he was in No 10 now, he would ensure Britons do not pay ‘a penny more’ than what they paid last year. But Michael Gove, the Levelling-Up Secretary, said: ‘Labour town halls charge higher council tax, and a Labour-run Whitehall would do the same.’
Labour divisions also emerged over the party’s policy on capital gains tax, with Ms Reeves saying she does not plan to increase it, despite Angela Rayner appearing to suggest rates were too low.
Ms Reeves told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘There are people who have built up their own businesses, who maybe at retirement want to sell that business. They may not have had huge income through their life if they’ve reinvested in their business, but this is their retirement pot of money.’
People attend a protest by junior doctors, amid a dispute with the government over pay, in London on March 13
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