MEMBERS of the Labour Party's shadow cabinet came to York to speak out on the party's campaign over pensions - and back their local mayoral candidate.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow paymaster general, Jonathan Ashworth, visited New Earswick indoor & district bowls club to introduce the Labour Party campaign over pensions.

The shadow cabinet members were joined by leading members of City of York Council, and the Labour candidate to become the first elected mayor of  York and North Yorkshire - David Skaith.

Ms Reeves and Mr Ashworth both spoke out on Conservative plans to cut National Insurance, which they believed would create a £46 billion "black hole" in the country's budget, a deficit which they expected to be made up by cuts to pensions.

However, the Government has said Labour's claims are scaremongering - and it had committed to the state pension triple lock in the next Parliament.

York Press: David Skaith and Jonathan Ashworth tried their hands at indoor bowlsDavid Skaith and Jonathan Ashworth tried their hands at indoor bowls (Image: Harry Booth)

Ms Reeves claimed that Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has refused to comment on whether there will be a cut to pensions - despite being asked by Labour leader Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's questions.

"The thing about pensions is that people pay in during their working life, so its really important that the money earmarked for pensions goes to pensions," said Ms Reeves.

Mr Ashworth added: "Rishi Sunak has made a £46 billion commitment that he cannot fund, unless he cuts the state pension by £96 a week."

In response to Labour's claims over pension cuts, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Laura Trott MP, said: "Of course we rule this out, this is more scaremongering from Labour – we have committed to the state pension triple lock in the next Parliament, meaning it will increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is the highest."


Ms Reeves added how much she values local politicians, such as Mr Skaith, ahead of the mayoral election on May 2.

She said: "Local councillors and mayors make decisions that impact on people's every day lives.

"I've been really proud to campaign in Whitby, in Harrogate, and in York with David these last few weeks.

"David has committed to being the value for money mayor, which is in stark contrast to the Conservative candidate."

Mr Skaith, speaking about his bid to be mayor, said: "I think we've tried to be really solid on this, it's a brand new role, we've never had a mayor for York and North Yorkshire.

"If we go in there and mess it up, we'll lose the confidence of the people, and waste money.

"I want to get in there and support people from the ground up."

The Labour Parliamentary candidate for York Outer, Luke Charters, was also at the gathering. Polling data has shown that the long-standing Conservative seat - currently held by Conservative MP Julian Sturdy - may swing towards Labour at the next general election.

"We won York council last year and we could be seeing a Labour Mayor," said Mr Charters.

"I think we're on the precipice of a huge Labour sweep here."

On his party's Mayoral candidate, Mr Charters added: "People have a lot of respect for David.

"He's a down to earth guy, he's a family man, and he wants to get stuff done."

  • The election for the inaugural Mayor of York and North Yorkshire will take place on May 2. David Skaith will go up against; Felicity Cunliffe-Lister (Liberal Democrat); Keane Duncan (Conservative); Kevin Foster (Green); Paul Haslam (Independent) and Keith Tordoff (Independent).