Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, has confirmed that the party is dropping its £28 billion per year green investment pledge if it wins the upcoming general election. First announced in September 2021 by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, the Labour Party had pledged to invest £28 billion every year throughout this decade to help transition the country to a ‘greener economy.’ They believed the Green Prosperity Plan would create ‘good new jobs across communities in Britain’ and ‘protect our planet.’
Sir Keir Starmer stated that all of Labour’s green policies ‘remain on the table,’ but ‘no further investment commitments will be made’ before the elections. He firmly asserted that this step back is a result of the Conservatives ‘crashing the economy’ and the chancellor’s decision to ‘max out the country’s credit card.’ This has forced them to be unable to fulfill their pledge.
According to ‘Treasury insiders,’ there will be less money available for investment due to the government’s spending plans and tax cuts. Starmer defended the U-turn by saying that they have to ‘anticipate the economy as it is and not as we want to inherit’ and that it would be irresponsible to ignore the current economic situation.
The Labour Party’s press release stated that the green plans announced by the party so far, such as funding for battery factories and clean steel production, wind farms with British-made turbines, and clean energy production by investing in GB Energy, are still in place. It also affirmed that the Party will adhere to its pledge of generating all of the UK’s electricity without increasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, grants and loans to help families insulate their homes will be reduced from 19 million homes over a decade to 5 million homes in five years.
The party has specified that the pledge to invest £500 million a year in grants for companies introducing green jobs remains, but it won’t be initiated before 2026. The Labour Party insists that these adjustments are necessary to align with their spending rules. The release also states that the pledges will be funded by ‘an extended windfall tax on gas and oil giants and some borrowing and investment from the private sector.’
The curtailment of this plan by the Labour Party has invited immense criticism from the government and a left-wing campaign group, Momentum and Unite. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has accused Starmer of having ‘no plan’ for the future of the country and said, ‘The uncertainty about what a Labour government would do is a real risk to our country’s future.’
He further added that the Labour Party seems to have no plan for the watered-down version of the green plan, which would mean ‘higher taxes for working people to fill Labour’s black hole.’ A Momentum spokesperson said, ‘This latest Starmer U-turn represents yet another capitulation to right-wing interests.’
Unite leader Sharon Graham said, ‘The Labour movement has to stand up to the Conservatives’ false accusations of fiscal irresponsibility.’ Co-leader of the Green Party Carla Denyer also criticized the Labour Party’s decision, stating, ‘This decision is a question of political will and responsibility. Labour can choose whether to have that fiscal inheritance as a millstone round their neck or do something differently.’
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