Reeves seeks to slash energy bills as Sunak wages ‘moral mission’ to cut taxes

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will outline how Labour’s energy policies will aim to save £300 for families, while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak embarks on his “moral mission” to cut taxes, as campaigning continues in the General Election.

Ms Reeves will visit the South West and accuse the Conservatives of being “staggeringly out of touch with the struggles facing ordinary families” in comments ahead of the release of May’s inflation data.

She will reiterate Labour’s pledge to make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030, which the party says will save families up to £300 per year off their energy bills, boost the UK’s energy independence, and create 650,000 good jobs.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves visit the Ocean Gate container terminal at Southampton docks
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves on a visit to the Ocean Gate container terminal at Southampton docks (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The party has pledged £8.3 billion for the publicly owned Great British Energy company, which will invest in clean energy.

A Conservative Party spokesman reiterated its belief that “Labour’s promises would mean at least £2,094 in higher council tax and other tax rises for every working family”.

Mr Sunak will continue his tax war on Labour as he claims inflation is “back under control” and it is his “moral mission” to slash taxes.

The Prime Minister is banking on inflation falling back to the Bank of England’s 2% target when official figures are released on Wednesday.

Most analysts are forecasting a drop in the Consumer Prices Index to 2% in May, which would mark the first time in nearly three years that inflation has been at the target.

The Tories also reiterated their demand that Sir Keir Starmer rule out a series of potential tax measures which they claim would be needed to fill a “£38.5 billion black hole” in Labour’s plans.

Mr Sunak’s party republished a list of 17 tax hikes they say Labour could make, but the Opposition has said they would refuse to be drawn into the trap of responding to each claim.

He said: “That’s the choice at this election – lower taxes with the Conservatives or a £2,094 tax hike under Labour that would hammer working families hardest.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks through a microscope while on the General Election campaign trail
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks through a microscope while on the General Election campaign trail (Jacob King/PA)

The Prime Minister called the July General Election on May 22 after declaring inflation was “back to normal” in a “major milestone” for the country, following official figures that day showing inflation slowed to 2.3% in April.

He was quick to declare victory – even though inflation was always expected to fall sharply as rising energy and food costs subsided.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Jeremy Hunt has admitted the Conservatives’ tax cuts are completely unfunded and will risk putting mortgages up again by £4,800. It’s time for change.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, the Liberal Democrats will pledge to spend £1 billion a year on repairing “crumbling” NHS hospitals if they come to power after the General Election.

The party claimed millions of people would be treated in the hospitals most affected by dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) by 2030 and accused the Conservatives of failing to act on the threat.

Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper warned of a “race against time to fix our hospitals”, and said staff and patients should not be “in a constant state of fear”.

The Raac scandal has seen public buildings including hospitals, schools and fire stations deemed unsafe as the concrete begins to crumble after reaching the end of its expected lifespan.

But the NHS Confederation, which represents health services, said £1 billion would “barely scratch the surface” and called for whoever wins the election to increase capital spending on the NHS by £6.4 billion per year.

First Minister of Scotland John Swinney wearing a Scotland top and a kilt in Munich during Euro 2024
First Minister of Scotland John Swinney, who was in Munich for Scotland’s match against Germany at Euro 2024, will launch the SNP’s manifesto (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Moving farther North, the SNP is expected to call for an additional £1 billion a year for Scotland’s health service, as party leader John Swinney prepares to launch the SNP’s election manifesto.

Ahead of the manifesto launch in Edinburgh, Mr Swinney will urge whichever party wins the General Election to commit to spending at least £10 billion extra annually on health across the UK.

He said: “The SNP manifesto will set out a different approach in line with Scotland’s centre-left values – with an end to Westminster cuts and a major new investment in our health service.

“Our NHS staff were rightly hailed as heroes during the pandemic, but since then the Tory Government has treated them with complete contempt, leading to the junior doctor strike which has England’s NHS on its knees.”