Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke last night to over 100 people in the Bowland Auditorium for this term’s first Nouse Event. As Labour’s no 2 economic minister, she spoke about the failings of the Coalition’s cuts driven economic policy and the alternative the Labour Party offers, focusing on the importance of building a market that distributes wealth more evenly.
Firmly in grasp of the figures throughout the night, she cited research that showed Britain was 18th out of 20 industrialised countries in its pre-tax and benefit market distribution. She spoke of the need for an active industrial strategy, to provide more middle-paying jobs, and a living wage, as ways to redress this uneven predistribution.
The event was hosted in association with the Humanities Research Centre. After a short introductory talk, Reeves was interviewed by members of the Nouse Events team and then fielded questions from the floor, which ranged from the usefulness of dramatically reducing tax rates to a defense of the Coalition cuts, witheringly dealt with by Reeves.
One of the “rising stars” of the Labour Party, she has been MP for Leeds West since 2010. She served as Shadow Pensions Minister from October 2010 until October 2011, during which time she was named one of the 20 most influential Londoners under the age of 35 by the Evening Standard.
After degrees from Oxford and the LSE, she worked as an economist at the Bank of England and British Embassy in Washington D.C. between 2000 and 2006, and then in the private sector for HBOS until 2009.