The shadow chancellor has warned she is “not at all confident” in the new prime minister working alongside Labour to solve the cost-of-living crisis.
Rachel Reeves said both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have been “totally tight-lipped” on proposals to assist people with paying their bills, suggesting they “haven’t got answers to those huge challenges”.
The Labour MP spoke out as she paid a visit to Catapult – a technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy – in Levenmouth, Fife, on Wednesday.
She was joined by fellow Labour MPs Ian Murray and Pat McFadden as they discussed the party’s plans to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in Scotland, as well as Labour’s commitment to investing in nuclear and renewables.
The visit north of the border followed reports this week that Ms Truss would invite applications for drilling licences to explore new fields in the North Sea if she becomes prime minister.
The Times newspaper reported that as many as 130 licences could be issued under the plans, while oil and gas firms could be pushed to invest in their existing sites to maximise production.
Critics say exploring new North Sea sites would not help with current energy bills – a warning echoed by Ms Reeves.
She said: “There’s obviously a role for North Sea oil and gas in the transition towards net zero and it is still really important in terms of contributing to our energy needs as a country.
“But the truth is the cheapest form of energy comes from wind power, and that’s why we’re here in Fife today, seeing the work that they’re doing, and also the cost reductions in terms of electricity generation and the link-up with hydrogen as well to produce green gas.
“So I think that that is the faster and the cheaper way to boost our energy security and resilience, and, in the meantime, create really good jobs here in Scotland, paying good wages, as well as delivering on our objectives of greater energy resilience.”
We've heard lots, apart from on the biggest thing affecting families and pensioners in just four and a bit weeks' time
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves
Asked if she believes either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak will work with Labour on solving the crisis once a new prime minister is selected, Ms Reeves told the PA news agency: “I’m not at all confident (in working together).
“I mean, we’ve heard lots from Mr Sunak and Ms Truss over the last few months as they’ve gone around the country.
“We’ve heard lots, apart from on the biggest thing affecting families and pensioners in just four and a bit weeks’ time.
“And both of them have been, you know, totally tight-lipped on what they’re actually going to do to help people, and it’s causing huge fear and anxiety amongst people who are worried about how they’re they’re going to pay their bills.”
She added that her party will “set out our case, try and persuade the Government to go further and faster than they are doing today” while offering a “genuine alternative” to the current Conservative Government.