Labour Will Not Promise To Nationalise Water, Energy Or Rail, Says Rachel Reeves

Shadow chancellor says 2019 mass nationalisation policy helped secure the party its "worst results since 1935".
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Labour would not pursue mass nationalisation of industries if it wins the next election, Rachel Reeves has said, although the party later clarified there was a “positive role for rail in public ownership”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 2019 general election manifesto promised to “bring rail, mail, water and energy” and “the broadband-relevant parts of BT” into public ownership.

But speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Monday, Reeves suggested the party had now ditched those ideas.

“They were a commitment in a manifesto that secured our worst results since 1935,” the shadow chancellor said.

“I’ve set out fiscal rules that say all day-to-day spending will be funded by day-to-day tax revenues.

“Within our fiscal rules, to be spending billions of pounds on nationalising things, that just doesn’t stack up against our fiscal rules.”

She added: “So we have scrapped the 2019 manifesto. That is not the starting point.”

Reeves said the party would be going into the next election with new ideas “not the policies of 2019”.

A Labour spokesperson later added: “We are pragmatic about public ownership as long as it sits within our fiscal rules - a point Rachel was underlining in the interview by referencing this framework.

“For example, we know there is a positive role for rail in public ownership.”

Starmer has faced accusations from his opponents on the left of the party that he campaigned for the leadership by promising to introduce leftwing policies before shifting to the right after he won.

The Labour leader has said “the slate is wiped clean” as Labour gears up for the next election.

“What we’ve done with the last manifesto is put it to one side. We’re starting from scratch,” he said last month.

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