As the coalition government begins to announce its plans, Rachel has been questioning Ministers in the Chamber about the details of the plans. Key amongst them are plans to raise VAT to 20%, a regressive measure that will hit the poorest hardest. Rachel made a point of order in the Finance debate about the VAT rise:
Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) (Lab): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the reduction in VAT under the Labour Government reduced revenues by just over £12 billion, so we do have quite a good idea of how much money it will bring in? Does he also agree that my constituents, who earn £16,000 on average, did notice the reduction in VAT, and that they will certainly notice the increase in VAT?
After Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP detailed plans to reform the NHS, Rachel questioned him on what effects it would have on local health charity, Leeds Healthy Living Network:
Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) (Lab): In my constituency, a local charity called Healthy Living Network Leeds is commissioned by the PCT to provide health services in the most deprived areas, including among the Traveller community. What guarantee can the Secretary of State give to my constituents that those community-based health services will continue, and that they will be overseen to ensure that those treatments continue in the most deprived areas?
The Health Secretary answered
GP commissioning consortiums will have a responsibility that goes beyond their registered patient population, and that when they set out their commissioning plans, those plans will have to be agreed by the local authority. In the hon. Lady's case, Leeds city council will have a responsibility to ensure, through its health improvement plan and through NHS commissioning, that the needs of groups such as Travellers are properly met.
Rachel will continue to ask questions which test the scope and detail of the coalition government's plans - you can keep track with her contributions to the debate at www.theyworkforyou.com or on this website.