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Chancellor Rachel Reeves statement to HM Treasury – 5 July 2024

Thank you. Thank you so much, thank you James, and thank you all of you for being here. I know that you have been waiting for some time so thank you very much.

It is such an honour to be here today as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I know that responsibility that brings to guide our economy through uncertain times, to restore stability in an age of insecurity, to build prosperity that draws on the talents of working people.

The central mission of this government will be to restore economic growth. [Political content removed.] It is now our national mission and it will be for the Treasury to lead that mission.

Not growth for growth’s sake but growth for a purpose. To make every part of our country better off.

To deliver on this mission, I want to be the most pro-growth Treasury in our country’s history. That will mean doing what the Treasury does best – building growth on a rock of economic stability.

But it also means taking on new challenges and new responsibilities to fix the foundations and to rebuild Britain; to drive growth not just in a few pocket’s of our country but every single part of Britain. To meet the challenges and to seize the opportunities of the future – including in the energy transition.

That is why this Treasury will play it’s full part in a new era of industrial strategy. Working hand-in-hand with business, to make sure Britain is truly open to business once again. And I know that in an uncertain world, if we can deliver that stability, the investments and reform that the Prime Minister and I have set out, then Britain can reap the rewards.

But for families at home, I know this is about more than just lines on a graph. It is about tackling the causes of the cost of living crisis and making work pay, rebuilding our health service and our schools, and driving opportunity in every part of Britain.

I will always hold in my mind’s eye the people across our country whose livelihoods, public services and opportunities will rise or fall based on the decisions that we make here.

And I ask you to do the same – whether in Darlington, Norwich or in this building.

It is also a huge privilege to be the first ever female Chancellor of the Exchequer.

To every young woman and girl… to every young woman and girl watching this: let today show that there should be no ceilings on your ambitions, your hopes or your dreams.

But there is a deeper responsibility too to women whose work is too often undermined, who have borne the brunt of inequality and whose lives and interests are too often excluded from economic policy making.

Together, we are going to change that.

Now, I’ve been a Member of Parliament for 14 years now and, if I’m honest, I’ve spent a lot of those 14 years pretty frustrated. Talking, not doing, responding to constituents problems, but not being able to get to the root cause of those problems. So, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no time to waste.

I will judge my time in office as a success if I know that at the end of it there are working class kids from ordinary backgrounds who are living richer lives, their horizons expanded and their potential realised. If we are leaving to the next generation a country that is more prosperous, with more good jobs paying decent wages and a country better able to thrive in an uncertain world.

I know that a lot has been asked of you in recent years – and I know that, when the chips are down, Treasury staff have risen to the occasion from furlough to the energy supports package. I’ve often disagreed with the political choices that have been made in this building, but I have never been in any doubt about the talent, the dedication and the professionalism that Treasury staff have displayed.

I know, too, that at times it must have been frustrating for you, working under a weight of uncertainty, changes in direction, and without clarity of political purpose.

All of our plans for government will rely on your hard work. I’m under no illusions about the scale of the challenges that we face, the difficult choices that we will have to make. I’m not promising you that it will be easy. There is a long road ahead. It comes with a great weight of responsibility. I embrace it. It will demand hard work. I am ready for it.

The British people have put their trust in this new government. They put their trust in us to run the economy and to protect their finances, and that trust must not be squandered.

We’re a team, it’s a new start, so let’s get to work. Thank you very much.

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