The Conservatives as the party of business is a “distant memory”, the shadow chancellor has claimed.
Rachel Reeves said Labour’s plan for the country was “proudly pro-worker and proudly pro-business”.
Speaking at an event in Bury, the MP for Leeds West said: “Under Keir Starmer’s leadership, Labour has changed, but so too have the Conservatives.
“The Conservatives once called themselves the party of business. That’s a distant memory.
“When the Prime Minister said, ‘F business’, I thought it was a throwaway remark. Little did I know it would be the central organising principle of his government.”
Ms Reeves accused the Conservatives of being “the party of high taxation because they are the party of low growth”.
Setting out Labour’s plan for the economy, she said: “Now is the wrong time to raise taxes on ordinary working people.
“Labour would keep bills down by cutting VAT on energy and expanding the Warm Homes Discount (Scheme), taking at least £200 off the typical bill – with up to £400 in additional support for low and middle earners and pensioners – paid for by a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas profits.”
Ms Reeves said Labour would support high streets by “abolishing business rates and replacing them with a fair system that levels the playing field between online multinationals and high street businesses”.
She added: “Labour would start now with our plan to create apprenticeship opportunities for young people, which could have seen 100,000 extra apprenticeships created this year, to drive our economic recovery.”
She emphasised Labour’s climate investment pledge of £28 billion for each year of the decade “to ensure the industries and jobs of the future are found all across Britain”.
A Labour future, she said, would entail “gigafactories to build batteries for electric vehicles, a thriving hydrogen industry, offshore wind with turbines made in Britain, planting trees and building flood defences, getting energy bills down and guaranteeing Britain’s energy security, and allowing our economy to adapt as we drive down our carbon emissions”.
Ms Reeves went on to say Labour would “champion British businesses at home and abroad”.
She said: “The first step is to make Brexit work for the British people – addressing the flaws in the Tories’ deal that are hitting our food and drinks manufacturers, creative industries, and professionals.
“We will build on the UK-EU trade deal in the interests of British businesses to cut red tape and make life easier for our exporters.”
Ms Reeves was joined at the event by Christian Wakeford, the Tory MP who defected to Labour on Wednesday.
She began the speech by saying: “It is particularly fitting to welcome Bury South’s own Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party.
“Christian, like so many others, sees that our country needs Keir Starmer’s leadership and a Labour government now more than ever,” she said.