The politician hoping to be the next chancellor of the exchequer was quizzed on work-life balance for mums, business rates, and taxes in a visit to the area today (July 1).

Rachel Reeves, Labour's pick to become the chancellor if the party wins the general election, visited business owners and voters in Lower Earley

Hosted at Rustic Cafe at Maiden Place, Mrs Reeves spoke with the business owners about their concerns.

She also claimed that everything in the Labour manifesto is fully-funded and costed, and said that the result of the Brexit referendum would not be reversed as 'that ship has sailed'.

After the meeting, she sat down for an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Rachel Reeves, Labour pick for chancellor, with Yuan Yang, parliamentary candidate for Earley and Woodley, with business owners at the Rustic Cafe in Maiden Place, Lower Earley.Rachel Reeves, Labour pick for chancellor, with Yuan Yang, parliamentary candidate for Earley and Woodley, with business owners at the Rustic Cafe in Maiden Place, Lower Earley. (Image: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service)

She was first asked how a Labour government would support working mothers, with statistics showing 250,000 mums leaving the workforce last November due to childcare pressures.

Mrs Reeves said: "There are two practical things we are offering, the first is 3,000 additional nurseries creating 100,000 places by using classrooms in primary schools that are no longer needed because of the decline in the birth rate.

"That will mean local and affordable nursery provision where people live.

"The second is free breakfast clubs in all primary schools. That's really important for giving kids a good start to the school day, but also really important for parents and particularly mums, because it is still mums that do the majority of their childcare to be able to drop their kids off a little bit earlier and take up either additional hours or travel and commute a little bit further to work to access those well-paying jobs."

She added: "But just on a personal level, if I become chancellor of the exchequer after the general election on Thursday, I'll be the first ever female chancellor of the exchequer and I recognise in that there's big responsibility to make the economy work better for women, particularly working women, and that's something I'm determined to do."

READ MORE: Everything Rachel Reeves, Labour's chancellor pick said as general election campaign kicks off in Reading

Mrs Reeves was then asked what measures she would take to help Reading’s town centre thrive and survive, amid rising business rentals forcing vendors such as the Grumpy Goat to close.

Acknowledging the concerns raised, she said: "Business rates are stacked against all businesses and high street businesses, and we've promised to level the playing field with some of the bigger online multinational giants, also through the creation of GB Energy, bringing down energy bills by investing in homegrown energy sources.

"Those are two of the biggest issues, but one other was around late payments and the enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code.

"Small businesses can't afford to be waiting for weeks and months for payments from bigger businesses, and so we've made a commitment to enforce the Prompt Payment Code to make sure that small businesses are paid on time and also make sure that they can access government procurement. At the moment, small businesses are so often locked out of government procurement programmes, and that's something we want to change.

"I've promised to be the most pro-growth, the most pro-business chancellor this country has ever seen.

"I want to work with businesses of all sizes, including the small businesses that I've met here to make the economy work for them and make this the best place to start and grow a business."

READ MORE: Conservatives claim Labour opponent advocates 'seizing private land'

Finally, Mrs Reeves was asked whether pensions would be taxed, and whether anyone earning less than £100,000 could expect to pay more in council tax, pay-as-you-earn, and national insurance.

Replying, Mrs Reeves said: "We've made a commitment to cut income tax, National Insurance and VAT for the duration of the next Parliament.

"Of course, it's the Conservatives that have taken tax to the highest level in 70 years and under their plans, taxes will continue to rise for each of the next five years.

"The Conservatives have become a high tax party because they've become a low growth party, they've haven't support businesses to grow, and as a result they keep turning to the taxpayer to fund public services.

"What we are seeking is a mandate to grow the economy to support businesses because in the end, that's the only way to improve living standards, so I'm not in the business of tinkering around with tax rates, what I want to do is grow the economy to create the wealth and prosperity in all of our communities, including here in Reading."

The visit took place on Monday, July 1, and was hosted by Yuan Yang, the Labour candidate for the Earley and Woodley constituency which Lower Earley falls in.

READ MORE: Early years education discussed as Labour candidate visits women in Woodley

Ms Yang faces off against councillor Pauline Jorgensen, the Conservative candidate, Tahir Maher for the Liberal Democrats, Gary Shacklady for the Greens and Alistair Hunter from the Social Democratic Party.

Mrs Reeves is the Labour candidate for Leeds West and Pudsey.