Labour will “fight the Tories on economic growth”, Starmer to tell conference

Elliot Chappell
© Rupert Rivett/Shutterstock.com

Keir Starmer will use his leader’s speech to Labour’s conference to declare that the opposition party plans to “fight the Tories on economic growth”.

Addressing the party’s annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday afternoon, the Labour leader is expected to tell delegates that he will “turn the UK into a growth superpower” through Labour’s ‘green prosperity plan’ – which the party has said will create one million new jobs across the country.

Starmer will argue that this “will require a different way of working – the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen” and a departure from a short-term approach. He will say Labour will usher in a “new way of governing” to take the UK “out of this endless cycle of crisis”.

The Labour leader is also expected to warn that the country “cannot afford to miss out” on the opportunity to lead globally on sustainable growth areas including renewable energy, electric vehicles and harnessing new hydrogen power, while talking about his personal commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

Starmer unveiled the green prosperity plan in an interview over the weekend, promising to turn the UK into a “clean energy superpower” and end the use of fossil fuels in the UK’s power system. As well as creating jobs, the party has said the plan will lower energy prices and save households money on bills.

Starmer will contrast Labour’s plan for growth against the government’s ‘mini-Budget’, delivered last Friday, in which Kwasi Kwarteng announced sweeping tax cuts – including scrapping the 45% top rate of income tax, the planned rise in corporation tax and the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

He will tell delegates that Labour now stands for “sound money” and reaffirm Rachel Reeves’ commitment, announced at the 2021 party conference, that Labour in government would establish an ‘Office for Value for Money’.

“What we’ve seen from the government in the past few days has no precedent. They’ve lost control of the British economy – and for what? For tax cuts for the richest one per cent in our society,” Starmer is expected to say.

According to analysis by the Resolution Foundation, the Tories’ mini-Budget will leave an individual earning £200,000 per year £5,220 better off next year, rising to £55,220 for a £1m earner. Those earning £20,000 a year will gain just £157.

Starmer is expected to praise the changes made within the party since the general election in 2019, which he will argue has shown that Labour is “the party of the centre-ground” and “the political wing of the British people”.

“We should never be left cowering in a brace position, worrying about how to get through a winter. It’s time for Britain to stand tall again,” he will add.

Starmer will address conference at 2pm on Tuesday. It will be his second in-person conference speech since becoming leader in 2020. His speech will be delivered following the pound falling to a record low after Kwarteng’s tax-cutting statement.

Following the mini-Budget on Friday, which represented the biggest tax-cutting package in 50 years, the Chancellor told the BBC on Sunday that there is “more to come”, adding: “I want to see over the next year, people retain more of their income, because I believe it’s the British people that are going to drive this economy.”

The government’s tax cuts have been widely criticised, including by prominent Conservatives. Former Tory Chancellor Ken Clarke said he did not accept the idea that “you make tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%, and it makes them work so much harder, and rush to invest and it pays for itself or even attracts investment”.

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