Starmer: Rebooting economy will be next Labour government’s “defining task”

Elliot Chappell

Keir Starmer will say that his party will “fight the next election on economic growth” as he declares that the “defining task” of a future Labour government under his leadership would be “rebooting the economy”.

In a major speech in Liverpool today, the Labour leader is expected to tell attendees that there is “no task more central to my ambitions for Britain than making the country and its people better off”.

Starmer will announce that Labour would establish an ‘industrial strategy council’, on a statutory footing, that will help set “strategic national priorities that go beyond the political cycle”, hold politicians to account on their decisions and builds confidence for investors to “boost long-term growth and productivity”.

“Whether it’s the cost-of-living or recovering from the pandemic, our economy is weaker than its competitors. Less resilient, brittle and, ultimately, we are all poorer for it,” the Labour leader is expected to say.

“To give Britain the fresh start it needs, we need a new approach. The goal of which is straightforward. To maximise the contribution we all make to national prosperity. In a nutshell: we draw our economic strength from too few places.”

Starmer will tell those watching that Labour wants growth that is “strong, secure, and fair” and that the question of fairness “strikes at the structural weakness of our economy”, adding: “An economy can grow and leave some if its people behind. But a nation based on contribution cannot grow in that way.”

He will say: “The approach to growth I have set out today will challenge my party’s instincts. It pushes us to care as much about growth and productivity, as we have done about redistribution and investment in the past. Not to hark back to our old ideas in the face of new challenges…

“We will not be distracted by the siren calls – from the right or the left – that say economic growth and net-zero do not go together.”

The Labour leader will say that he and Rachel Reeves will always deliver “sound finances, careful spending, strong, secure, and fair growth” and that there will be “no magic money tree economics with us”.

Labour has accused the Tory leadership candidates of engaging in “unfunded fantasy economics” and said they are no longer the party of “economic responsibility” after the they made more than £200bn in unfunded commitments.

Labour has repeatedly accused the Conservatives of being the ‘party of low growth”. The party’s Shadow Chancellor told Rishi Sunak in March that the Tories were “the party of high taxation, because they are the party of low growth”.

Shown a statement by Reeves promising that Labour would boost growth, members of a focus group commissioned by LabourList and run by Public First last week felt that the UK experienced “pretty strong growth” until the pandemic. One argued the economy does not need to be “rebooted” but “put back on track a little bit”.

Starmer’s speech comes amid forecasts that the UK’s economic growth will stagnate next year, with consumer price inflation running at 8.2% for the year to June.

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