Labour’s economy kickstart & England Euros ‘£16K tickets rush’ ...The Standard podcast

Chancellor Rachel Reeves giving a speech at the Treasury to an audience of leading business figures and senior stakeholders (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Chancellor Rachel Reeves giving a speech at the Treasury to an audience of leading business figures and senior stakeholders (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

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Britain’s newly-minted chancellor Rachel Reeves has given her first major speech at the Treasury in the hope of boosting investment to Britain after years of post-Brexit economic turbulence.

The fledgling Labour government is making growth its number one priority as it seeks to bring in extra billions to improve public services.

Speaking to business chiefs at the Treasury, Reeves explained how she wants to rev up Britain’s economy domestically, including by planning reforms, as she sought to boost shaken investor confidence.

Reeves said her economic blueprint would be based on stability, investment and reform and that the new government and its huge Commons majority, would be ready to “risk short-term political pain to fix Britain’s foundations”.

She unveiled a major shake-up of the planning system to build 1.5 million more homes, including more social housing, in the next five years and green energy infrastructure projects.

For the latest, we’re joined by Evening Standard political editor Nicholas Cecil.

Plus, the countdown is on for England’s Euro 2024 semi-final clash with the Netherlands - with one match ticket being offered for £16,000.

With just days to go, Evening Standard reporter Robert Dex discusses the demand for tickets and hotel rooms in host city Düsseldorf.

Meanwhile, as excitement builds around the Three Lions’ success, will London Mayor Sadiq support football ‘fan zones’ to watch the team?

Here’s a fully automated transcript of today’s episode:

From London, this is The Standard podcast, and I'm Mark Blunden.

Coming up on today's show.

The fact that somebody thinks it's worth asking 68,000 pounds for it, probably tells you a great deal about the demand, doesn't it?

Eye-watering sums for tickets ahead of England's semi-final Euros clash with the Netherlands.

But first.

I have repeatedly warned that whoever won the general election would inherit the worst set of circumstances since the Second World War.

What I have seen in the past 72 hours has only confirmed that.

Britain's newly-minted Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, has given her first major speech at the Treasury in the hope of boosting investments in Britain after years of post-Brexit economic turbulence.

Growth requires hard choices, choices that previous governments have shied away from.

And it now falls to this new Labour government to fix the foundations.

There is no time to waste.

We have promised a new approach to growth, one fit for a changed world.

That approach will rest on three pillars, stability, investment and reform.

The new Labour government is making growth its number one priority as it seeks to bring in extra billions to improve public services.

Speaking to business chiefs at the Treasury, Reeves explained how she wants to rev up Britain's economy domestically, including planning reforms, as she sought to boost shaken investor confidence.

Reeves said her economic blueprint would be based on stability, investment and reform.

She unveiled a major shakeup of the planning system to build one and a half million more homes, including more social housing in the next five years, plus green energy infrastructure projects.

For the latest, from Westminster, we're joined by Evening Standard political editor Nicholas Cecil.

Nic, what more can you tell us about Rachel Reeves' speech on Monday?

She kept her civil service at the Treasury working all weekend.

It was a no-nonsense start.

And there are two very broad-brush themes, I think, to her speech this morning.

One was domestically focused, and that's a big reform of the planning system to try and get more projects to be built quickly, especially more homes and more major infrastructure projects.

So if you look at that, for example, she wants to build 1.5 million more homes over the next five years, including lots more social housing.

Lots of these projects are stalled for various reasons.

So, she's going to reform what's best called the National Planning Master Plan for Britain to make sure that it is, in her words, more growth-focused.

So, it's to try and get rid of some of the barriers to growth.

She could bring that back, mandatory housing targets for councils.

Michael Gove got rid of these.

Basically, he was hit with a backlash from around the country.

So, she's bringing those back.

And also that she's going to make it easier to build onshore wind farms.

Lots of these decisions are controversial.

There'll be a NIMBY backlash against some of them.

But she's stressing that we need to get Britain revved up, and we need to build more and get a lot more of these infrastructure projects working.

And the second?

The second theme was very much a message, not only to business leaders in Britain, but also around the world.

So she was saying, in her words, that Britain is a safe place to invest in and that in an uncertain world, Britain is a place to do business.

Now, that might sound totally obvious, but in recent years, given the economic and political turmoil we've had, some investors have looked at Britain and thought, actually, do I really want to invest here?

For example, we had the Liz Trust mini-budget.

Then we had Rishi Sunak's decision to suddenly scale back the HS2 rail project.

So, investors were looking at Britain thinking, actually, if I could plough billions into a project in Britain, and then suddenly the government could do a U-turn, that could be a waste of my money.

So, she is reassuring business leaders and investment funds around the world, Britain is going to be a stable place to come and invest your money and get a decent return.

And at the same time, boost infrastructure in the country.

What do you make of this phrase, short-term political pain to fix Britain's foundations?

Certainly, in terms of what new governments normally do, is they come in and they trash the reputation of the previous administration.

In this case, it wasn't very difficult because the Tories had trashed their own reputation.

Again, look back at Liz Truss.

If there's one reason to vote Conservative, it's because they'll have a sound and stable management economy.

She caused absolute turmoil.

Therefore, she destroyed one of the key reasons why people vote conservative.

So, not only was Ms. Reeves keen to point out the record of the previous Tory administrations, but she's also trying to argue that she is willing to take the tough decisions necessary to get Britain moving.

It's similar language to Rishi Sunak.

He did a similar thing.

He would argue that his decision on HS2 to scale it back and to invest money in smaller wealth projects was a good example of that.

But she's making very clear that she is willing to take tough, difficult decisions to get more projects built in Britain.

And what's on the agenda for the new Prime Minister in the coming days?

Well, for London, there's an important meeting tomorrow morning.

The Prime Minister will be meeting the Metro Mayors, including Sadiq Khan, and he's made very clear that he's willing to work with all the mayors, no matter what their political colour, whether they're Tory, Labour or even possibly Lib Dem.

So, Sir Keir Starmer says, I want to work with all the mayors.

The previous Tory administrations were accused of deliberately having an antagonistic relationship with the Mayor of London because they had political differences.

So, the relationship between City Hall and Whitehall was at times fraught.

And that is seemed to have impacted on things like housing transport policy.

Now that we've got a Labour Mayor and a Labour government, the hope is that they will work more closely together to the benefit of the city.

The other big event coming up is that Sir Keir Starmer is off to NATO shortly.

And it's easy to forget with all our domestic problems that actually there is a major war going on.

In Europe, obviously in Ukraine.

So, that is a major issue which will be addressed by the NATO leaders.

And not only is it a world affairs issue, obviously it has domestic implications as well.

Let's go to the ads.

Coming up, the sky-high prices for tickets and hotels in Germany, ahead of England's semi-final Euros clash with the Netherlands.

Welcome back.

The countdown is on for England's semi-final clash with the Netherlands in the European Championships.

And there's just days to go.

So, the remaining tickets and rooms in the host city of Dusseldorf are going for silly money as the excitement builds.

Evening Standard reporter Robert Dex has been investigating and joins us now.

Rob, what's the latest?

In hundreds of hotel rooms and homes in Germany, in here there are people frantically refreshing trying to get onto the legitimate tickets, which is the FA's tickets, which have been released, I think, at 8am this morning.

And obviously that's the people who are England fans, who follow them to lots of games, who are signed up with the FA.

They don't get advanced ones because obviously the nature of the tournament, we don't know if we're playing until the last penalty goes in.

So, the FA does this weird sort of thing where it waits to see what tickets it gets, then tries to sell them as quickly as possible.

So, there's a few thousand tickets that way, going for prices that people understand and people were told about beforehand, but obviously they're extremely hard to get.

And that leaves the vast majority of the fans looking elsewhere.

I mean, we've seen tickets today that should have, if you like, a price on the ticket of, say, 70 quid, going from about 600, 700 quid.

I mean, for the tickets, there is one ticket I've seen in the ground, literally on the halfway line, for about 16 grand.

Now, whether someone pays 16,000 pounds is, of course, a different matter.

But the fact that somebody thinks it's worth asking 16,000 pounds for it probably tells you a great deal about the demand, doesn't it?

This is first thing Monday morning.

I think the game kicks off 8pm Wednesday night.

Prices will probably rise over that period.

How about the hotels?

I went on one prominent accommodation website without naming names.

And it basically, you search for Wednesday night in Dortmund, and it basically says nine out of ten rooms have gone already.

The Tuesday before the game, you can get a room for about 100 quid.

The Thursday after the game, you can get a room for about 60 quid.

On the Wednesday, the night of the game, that room is going for £2,100.

And that tells you all you need to know basically.

It's like a little graph with an enormous spike on one day.

What do you make of the sudden shift in energy around support for England after that penalties win against Switzerland?

There's something about penalties.

We were so dreadful at them for so long, and we so expect them to go wrong.

Winning a penalty shootout is almost a bit like magic, and anything is possible.

There'll be fans who think we're more likely to win the final than we are to win a penalty shootout along the way.

I think you always see this with tournaments.

Look at the numbers watched on TV, and they start at whatever, 8 million, 10 million, and they slowly, slowly climb the further we get on in the tournament.

People start to think we've got a chance of winning here.

People who don't normally watch football, the overarching media attention suddenly reminds them that there's a football match on the day.

Well, I'll watch it as well.

Interest is mounting day by day.

And surely Sadiq Khan has got to be seriously thinking about setting us up fan zones in London now.

I think you would think so.

I mean, obviously there were fan zones last time we were in the final, but that was slightly different because the Euros were in the UK, obviously in finals at Wembley.

But yeah, I mean, the only thing I would say is, I don't know what the weather's meant to be like on the final day, because I think the weather for the semi-final here is not going to be particularly great.

I mean, looking out the window now, it's a glorious summer's morning, but it could equally be chucking it down by 8pm on Wednesday.

If it's nice weather by the final, and people are out in London having a drink, you think it would be crazy not to have fan zones, surely?

I mean, just basic, more than anything, I imagine it makes life a heck of a lot easier, but the police are cleaning up afterwards, if you know that x majority of the fans are going to be in this place, rather than mindlessly milling around the capital.

There's more on these stories in the Evening Standard newspaper and online at standard.co.uk.

We're back on Tuesday at 4pm.