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Labour Party’s Keir Starmer Is Considering Scaling Back £28bn Green Plans

Photograph: Labour Party

Labour had created an ambitious plan to invest in green jobs and industry however, they have decided to scale this idea to borrow £28bn a year back, amid fears the Conservatives will use the policy as a central line of attack in the general election campaign.

While some want to retain key elements of the plan, others, like senior Labour figures, push to drop the £28bn commitment entirely. Labour officials say they intend to keep central parts of their green policy. But their desire is to recast it in a way that allows them to stop talking so much about what it costs and start focusing instead on what the policies will achieve.

An insider said that some were concerned about how a Labour government would grow the economy without the green plan, and whether it could be politically damaging for Starmer, as it could leave him open to charges of “flip-flopping” by the Tories.

On the other hand, they did add that “There will be a pivot in the new year and the £28bn price tag as it exists now is unlikely to survive that. Whatever ultimately happens will be a further watering down of the position. This will be the Tories’ number one area of attack, so they need to deal with it.”

One shadow minister suggested that one way to refocus attention on the scheme is by wrapping the existing plans into one bill with a title that could mimic the Inflation Reduction Act in the US. “We could call it the ‘Bringing Bills Down Act’,” the person said.

In contrast, others believe rebadging the scheme will not be enough, and want the overall financial commitment to be scaled back, perhaps dramatically.

After the autumn statement, an extra £13bn is there to spend while still meeting that target. However, unfortunately, the government is expected to use that money for further tax cuts in the spring budget.

Despite this, Labour has said it will consider money already committed to green projects by the Conservative government, which is around £8bn, leaving the party with a further £20bn to find if it wants to retain the original pledge. The party is likely to stick to the spending commitments it has already made, to fund a national wealth fund at a cost of £8bn over the parliament and a home insulation scheme at a cost of up to £6bn a year.

Also, Labour has promised an extra £1.4bn for a range of smaller schemes, including investments in clean steel technologies and battery power production.

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Tags: UK politics England Climate Labour Keir Starmer


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