Ed Miliband on £28bn rowback claim: ‘Don’t believe everything you read’

Tom Belger
Ed Miliband at the CPP Inclusive Growth Conference.
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With the Tories doubling down on anti-green attacks, Ed Miliband gave Labour’s ‘green jobs and lower bills’ messaging an interesting twist in a speech at a Centre for Progressive Policy event I tagged along to yesterday.

He said 80% of investment under US president Joe Biden’s clean energy programme was in “left behind” areas, with lower-than-average graduate numbers. My full thread on Miliband’s speech is here.

He said polling showed a far greater willingness to see climate action taken, and even have wind turbines built near people’s homes, than the right suggest.

Asked about the senior party source who recently suggested Labour may not hit its £28 billion annual spending pledge, he spoke of his “bemusement” and said he and the leader’s office were “absolutely clear” in being committed to it.

“The position hasn’t changed…you don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers or online.”

What Labour would do for small business

The party plans to launch a plan for small businesses and hold the first of a series of regional business roadshows today, with Shadow Business and Trade Minister Jonathan Reynolds promising entrepreneurs “the firm foundations they need to prosper”.

I’m not certain if we’ll see any new policy, but the party’s highlighting its plans on legislating to tackle late payment, axing business rates, unlocking patient capital for tech-intensive firms and giving SMEs a better shot of getting public contracts.

The party also says it will “revitalise Britain’s high streets” including by introducing town centre police patrols.

Handily, LabourList just so happens to be co-hosting an online event at 3pm today (tickets/info here!) on exactly that theme of how Labour and Tory plans compare on our high streets and issues like business rates – with not just James Murray from the shadow Treasury team, but also Liz Twist, newly minted shadow minister for local services and communities.

Handily for you that’s our final plug for this event too, so thanks for bearing with us.

Burnham’s  “different perspective” to Starmer

Meanwhile at another conference my colleague Katie attended, Andy Burnham said he and other metro mayors are “100% behind Keir”, but sometimes they have to take “a different perspective” in the interest of their local areas.

Case in point, perhaps: he said “there is an argument for a basic income” and proposed overhauling inheritance tax to fund a National Care Service, declaring that a “much fairer, more equal society” could be created if public money were spent differently. Full run-down of Burnham’s comments here.

Throwing the Kitchen at possible by-election

Wellingborough and Rushden (potential) by-election candidate Genevieve Kitchen’s op-ed for us is well worth a read today here.

She writes: “I was on day four of my honeymoon in Suffolk when I got the call to say Peter Bone had been suspended from the Commons and a recall petition had been triggered..

“People are eager to hear from Labour here, and genuinely want to know how we can get towns like Wellingborough and Rushden back on a positive track. Wellingborough is less than an hour on the train from London…I hope to see you soon!”

In other Labour news

  • NORWICH COUNCIL FALLS: Labour has lost control of Norwich City Council after four city councillors and one county councillor quit the party. “There are many reasons, but in essence we no longer consider the current national and local Labour Party matches the overriding principles that guide our work,” they said (BBC).
  • LANCASHIRE HOTPOT-ATO: The leader of Burnley borough’s Labour group has condemned the proposed devolution deal for Lancashire, but Labour-run Blackburn with Darwen Council is set to approve the scheme on Thursday (Lancashire Telegraph).
  • RETHINKING EDUCATION: “Labour will review the way that the whole landscape of tertiary education works and how the lifelong learning entitlement can provide opportunity to further and higher education systems,” according to shadow minister Matt Western (THE).
  • ALLAN ROGERS, 1932-2023: Tributes have been paid to Allan Rogers, Labour MP for the Rhondda from 1983 to 2001, with successor Chris Bryant calling him a “magnificent advocate…through some of its darkest times” (Wales Online).
  • LONDON TO LEICESTER: Deputy London mayor and fintech entrepreneur Rajesh Agrawal has stepped down to focus on campaigning as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the outer, outer London borough of Leicester East (X).
  • PUBLIC SECTOR TASKFORCE: Think tank Demos hopes its new taskforce on future public services could “provide the basis for the first cross-cutting public service reform white paper since 2011”, with advisers including former Labour health minister Patricia Hewitt (Demos).

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