UK PM Keir Starmer’s new cabinet: Who is Rachel Reeves, UK’s first female chancellor

UK PM Keir Starmer's new cabinet: Who is Rachel Reeves, UK's first female chancellor

Keir Starmer, the newly elected Prime Minister of Britain, named Rachel Reeves as the nation’s finance minister on Friday. This appointment comes in the wake of Labour’s resounding triumph in the recent election. Reeves, 45, is a prominent figure in the Labour Party, who has made history by becoming the first woman to hold the position of Britain’s finance minister.As a former Bank of England economist and junior chess champion, Reeves faces the challenge of stimulating economic growth while maintaining the Labour Party’s recently established reputation for fiscal responsibility.
Since being appointed as Labour’s finance policy chief in 2021, Reeves has been instrumental in repairing the party’s relationship with the business community, which had been strained under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. She has also been a strong advocate for Keir Starmer’s pragmatic approach, prioritising practicality over ideology and standing firm against those on the left who favour a more relaxed fiscal policy.
Reeves inherits a challenging economic situation from the Conservatives, with stagnant living standards, high public debt, and elevated tax levels. Despite these obstacles, she remains committed to her “iron-clad” fiscal rules, which prohibit borrowing for day-to-day spending and require debt to be falling as a share of the economy by the fifth year of any forecast. However, Reeves is open to borrowing for investment purposes, drawing inspiration from the policies of US President Joe Biden and the “modern supply-side economics” advocated by US treasury secretary Janet Yellen.
Throughout her career, Reeves has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service, having worked at the Bank of England, the British Embassy in Washington, and British bank Halifax/Bank of Scotland (HBOS). Her professional experience and economic outlook have earned her the respect of the business community, although some on the left of the Labour Party remain sceptical of her plans, particularly regarding the role of the private sector in driving investment.
As Reeves takes on the historic responsibility of being Britain’s first female chancellor of the exchequer, she remains determined to deliver a fairer society for future generations. With her strategic thinking and ability to anticipate her opponent’s moves, honed through her experience as a chess champion, Reeves is well-positioned to navigate the challenges ahead and implement Labour’s plan for change.

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