UK public finances in worst state since Second World War

12:20 11.07.2024 •

Photo: FT

Rachel Reeves (photo) has warned that Britain’s new Labour government has inherited “the worst set of circumstances since the second world war”, as she instructed the Treasury to examine previous spending under the Conservatives, writes ‘The Financial Times’.

In her first major speech in the role, the UK chancellor prepared the ground for tough choices on the public finances this year as she vowed to prioritise growth and unblock housing developments and onshore wind farms.

“We face a legacy of 14 years of chaos and economic irresponsibility,” Reeves said on Monday. “That is why over the weekend I instructed Treasury officials to provide an assessment of the state of our spending inheritance so that I can understand the full scale of the challenge.”

Reeves said that what she had “seen in the past 72 hours” had “only confirmed” her previous warnings “that whoever won the general election would inherit the worst set of circumstances since the second world war”.

The Conservatives, who argued during the election campaign that Labour in government would spring surprise tax rises on the public, claimed the review would help Reeves justify tax rises in her autumn Budget.

Reeves, who was appointed by Sir Keir Starmer following Labour’s landslide election win last week, declared that the UK now had a “stable government” that would work with business. She pledged to make the country a “safe haven” for investment.


read more in our Telegram-channel