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Labour to examine every major infrastructure project to ‘get Britain building again’ | Politics News

Labour will examine every ongoing major infrastructure project to “get Britain building again on day one” after it wins a general election, Rachel Reeves has said.

The shadow chancellor said that Louise Hague, her front bench colleague responsible for transport, will also commission an independent expert inquiry into the HS2 fiasco “to learn lessons for the future”.

In a speech at the Labour Party conference, Ms Reeves said the high-speed rail line wasn’t the only project that had gone over time and over budget, with others at risk of not being delivered.

She said: “When it comes to getting things built…Britain has become the sick man of Europe, with HS2 coming in at ten times the cost of the French equivalent.

“And that is why our shadow Transport secretary, Louise Hague will commission an independent expert inquiry into HS2 to learn the lessons for the future because many more major government capital projects are over time, over budget and are in danger of going undelivered.”

She said she has also asked Darren Jones, the shadow treasury minister, to work with industry experts and trade unions “to examine line by line every major capital project”.

This would help “make sure that on day one of a Labour government, we are ready to get Britain building again”.

“I will not turn a blind eye to dither, delay and incompetence”, she said.

“If The Tories won’t build, if the Tories can’t build, then we will.”

Ms Reeves went onto to explain Labour’s proposals to reform Britain’s “antiquated planning system” to speed up the building of crucial infrastructure.

This includes fast-tracking planning applications for battery factories, laboratories and 5G infrastructure as well as setting out clearer national guidance for developers on consulting local communities to avoid the prospect of litigation.

Ms Reeves also set out a series of measures to tackle the waste of taxpayers’ money.

  • A crackdown on the use of private planes by ministers, which she announced with a jibe at Mr Sunak, suggesting his love of flying was because he was scared of meeting voters.
  • Properly enforcing the ministerial code on rules on the use of private planes, “to save the tax payer millions”.
  • Cutting government consultancy spending by half in the first term, and requiring government departments to make a value for money case if they want to use consultants
  • Establishing a COVID corruption commissioner to chase those who made fraudulent claims for support during the pandemic

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