Starmer to unveil “new economy” plan with focus on reversing low growth trend

Elliot Chappell
© Ian Vogler

Keir Starmer is set to promise to turn around the “low growth” of the last decade while unveiling Labour’s plan for “a new economy and a new Britain” based on “security, prosperity and respect for all”.

In a speech on Thursday in Huddersfield, where he is expected to make his most detailed intervention on the economy yet, Starmer will outline six areas of policy change for long-term growth. He will pledge to focus on:

  • “Reimagining the role of government as a partner to the private sector;
  • “Putting money back in people’s pockets;
  • “Restoring and revitalising the places that once powered Britain;
  • “Ending the era of insecure employment;
  • “Driving up productivity and wages; and
  • “Taking advantage of the opportunities of Brexit.”

“With Labour, Britain will once again grow. And from the proceeds of that growth we will build a new economy and a new Britain, one based on security, prosperity and respect for all,” the Labour leader will say.

“We will build a new economy of security, where stable employment will be the bedrock of a better future for the next generation.

“We will build an economy of prosperity, in which the places that once powered Britain flourish again. We will build a new economy of respect, where the contribution of every worker and employee is given its due.”

Starmer is expected to praise Britain for having “deep expertise and leading businesses”, a “skilled and dedicated workforce” and “raw components of a highly successful economy”. But he will also criticise the Tory record on the economy.

The opposition leader will make the case that the UK economy “has grown far slower than when Labour was in power”, and with higher growth “we could have spent £30bn more on public services without having to raise a single tax”.

He will accuse Rishi Sunak of raising taxes more than any other Chancellor in half a century, pointing out that Sunak has introduced 15 tax rises, despite he and Boris Johnson claiming that they are leading a “tax-cutting” party.

“Our country and our economy are entirely different now, but we too are going through the white heat. We face our own revolutions in technology and industry, and it will fall to the next Labour government to shape that change so it works for all,” the Labour leader will say.

He will argue that “Britain cannot rise to the great challenges of the day without the innovation of business” and that a party without a clear plan for “making sure businesses are successful” has “no hope of being a successful government”.

Starmer undertook a three-day tour last week, visiting Sunderland, Burnley and Erdington. He criticised the Tories for failing to tackle violent crime and pledged to reverse the decline in manufacturing jobs across the country.

GDP fell by 9.4% in the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 as the UK saw the worst contraction of any major economy. The UK recorded the highest annual growth of any G7 country in 2021 after suffering the worst recession the year before.

According to the Office for National Statistics, output fell by 0.2% in December as shortages of goods in shops in the run-up to Christmas and a record number of job vacancies slowed the economy following a 0.7% increase in November.

The statistics watchdog has warned that the UK is on course to experience the worst economic growth of any large rich country next year. The British Chamber of Commerce has warned that the encouraging GDP figures reported in 2021 are uncoupled from “the reality on the ground”.

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