Starmer pledges no Labour return to austerity but warns of ‘tough decisions’

James Moules

Keir Starmer has warned voters that “tough decisions” will be made on public services by a Labour government, but that there will be no “returning to austerity”.

He was asked by LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty on Monday whether he would be able to say “read my lips: no cuts to public services”.

Starmer said: “I went through it running a public service. I know what that feels like, I know the impact, the devastating impact it had, and has had and continues to have. So we’re not returning to austerity.

“We will have to make tough decisions. But look, I believe in public services. I want them properly run and properly funded under a Labour government.”

It comes amid a wider debate over Tory and Labour public finances and government spending as Labour gears up for its manifesto launch on Thursday.

Asked about potential spending cuts, shadow paymaster general Jon Ashworth also said at a press conference on Monday that there would be no return to austerity.

But he added: “We know we have to make tough decisions because of the wreckage of the public finances by the Tories. But the way you deal with it is growing the economy.”

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