Keir Starmer applauds Rachel Reeves after her speech to Labour conference. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images)
Labour would fund a £2 billion NHS funding boost by bringing back the 45p tax rate for the highest earners, Rachel Reeves has declared.
The shadow chancellor confirmed the party would overturn Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision to slash the tax bills of around 660,000 of the UK’s wealthiest people.
Kwarteng’s move, announced in last week’s mini-budget, will see the tax bills of those earning more than £150,000 a year reduced by £10,000 on average.
But in her speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool, Reeves said: “With a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share.
“The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”
The move is expected to raise around £2 billion a year, which Reeves said would be spent on doubling the number of district nurses qualifying every year, training more than 5,000 new health visitors, and creating 10,000 nursing and midwife placements.
She said: “It will fall to us to fix the damage the Tories have done. We have done it before, we will do it again.”
Reeves said that on her first day as chancellor, she would write to the Low Pay Commission ordering them to set the minimum wage “at a level that reflects the real cost of living”.
“The last Labour government delivered Britain’s first national minimum wage,” she said.
“The next Labour government will introduce a genuine living wage. That’s how we will give working people respect. That’s how we will give working people security.”
Reeves said Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng had “lost control” of the economy as the value of the pound plummets and the cost of government borrowing soars.
She said the next Labour government “will not waver in our commitment to fiscal responsibility” but insisted there would be no return to the austerity of the David Cameron years.
“Last year, I told this conference that I was more than happy to take on the Tories on economic competence, because I know we can win,” she said.
“I’m now wondering if they even plan to turn up for the fight. It is becoming clearer by the day that Labour is the party of economic responsibility and the party of social justice.
“It is time for a government that is on your side, and that government is a Labour government.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.