Labour’s Green Betrayal: Starmer’s Retreat from £28 Billion Pledge
Labour’s latest pathetic capitulation reveals the tragic truth about Sir Keir Starmer’s feeble leadership. In a desperate bid pretending to be fiscally responsible, Labour has now abandoned its pledge to invest billions in green jobs. This cowardly surrender exposes the hollowness at the heart of Starmerism.
The party had previously promised £28 billion per year for environmental projects. This visionary proposal offered hope of transforming Britain into a leader in clean energy. But in his confusion and weakness, Starmer has tossed this commitment aside like an inconvenient burden.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves first announced the party’s pledge to spend an extra £28 billion per year on green investment at Labour’s party conference in September 2021. It was deemed Labour’s flagship policy and probably the only policy that had any prospects of new job creation.
Reeves said a Labour government would “invest in good jobs in the green industries of the future”, with investment in areas ranging from giga-factories for electric vehicle batteries and offshore wind turbines, to insulating homes, planting trees and building flood defences.
At the same conference in 2021, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged the party would insulate 19 million homes over 10 years.
But last year, Labour adjusted the plan to say the £28 billion-a-year target would likely be met in the second half of a first parliament, rather than immediately, if the party wins the next election.
There has been growing confusion over the status of the target in recent weeks, with Ms Reeves repeatedly declining to recommit to the spending pledge, while Sir Keir said earlier this week it was “desperately needed” to achieve a fully clean power grid by 2030.
Then to clarify the flagship policy Starmer sent it the way of his pledges and promises, into the wind with another wethervaine spin.
The U-turn came after the Tories claimed an official Treasury costing had suggested that part of the plan – to upgrade insulation for 19 million homes – would cost more than double the party’s estimate of £6 billion.
Rather than standing firm on principle, Starmer folded at the first whiff of criticism. This sorry affair proves that today’s Labour lacks the courage of its convictions.
Labour MP and a former shadow environment secretary Barry Gardiner told the BBC’s Today programme: “It’s economically illiterate, it’s environmentally irresponsible and it’s politically jejune” and warned his party against becoming “so bland that you stand for nothing”.
From Hope to Despair: Labour’s Retreat on Green Investment
Environmental campaigners are also criticising Labour for abandoning £28bn as its target for green investment.
Environmental campaigners have called the decision “short-sighted” and accused Starmer of “caving like a house of cards”, while PM Rishi Sunak said his opposite number was trying to “wriggle out” of a key manifesto promise
This is from Alice Harrison, head of fossil fuels campaigning at Global Witness.
“Today’s announcement will give confidence to the oil and gas industry and those who stand to benefit from a fossil fuel energy system. For the rest of us, faced with unaffordable energy bills, fossil fuel-funded wars, and the floods, storms and droughts that the climate crisis brings, this is a deeply disappointing signal on the low level of ambition a future government has when it comes to the biggest challenge the world is facing.”
And this is from Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth.
“Green investment doesn’t just deliver for the planet; it also benefits our health and economy. Cutting it would be shortsighted and cost the country dearly.
The UK is already lagging behind in the race to manufacture green steel, build electric vehicles, and develop giga-battery factories. Thousands of jobs are at risk if we don’t match the investment the US and the rest of Europe are making in these industries …
For years UK climate action has been undermined by dither, delay and lukewarm support from government. We urgently need real political leadership to confront the climate crisis and seize the huge opportunities that building a greener future would bring”.
Labour now offers only the stale vision of managed decline.
With climate catastrophe looming, the world desperately needs radical action. But Labour is retreating into stagnant centrism. This will leave future generations stranded in rising seas and scorched earth.
The contrast with visionaries across the Atlantic is striking. Even sleepy old Joe Biden has implemented a transformative climate agenda that went far beyond milquetoast measures. This has energised progressive Americans who demand an inspiring alternative.
The Hour Is Late And The Need is Great.
Starmer had set a deadline of Thursday to finalise his party’s draft general election manifesto.
Elections are won by the Party that voters believe will deliver a vision of hope, how life in Britain can be improved, made better, by those who are not content with the status quo.
But Labour stands for nothing. In his pathetic quest for electability, Starmer has purged the Party of big ideas and passion. The Tories offer devastation, Labour inertia. Voters deserve better.
The U-turn comes on the same day that the EU’s climate change service announced that global warming has exceeded 1.5C across an entire year for the first time.