Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has defended his decision to abandon the party’s £28bn per year green investment pledge, arguing that it is no longer affordable due to the economic damage caused by the Conservatives. Despite this, Starmer assured that if Labour wins the election, they would still outspend the Tories on green initiatives and remain committed to achieving clean power by 2030.
However, this move has been criticised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who accused Starmer of lacking a plan for Britain. The decision represents a significant reduction in Labour’s planned green industry investments if they come into power.
The £28bn pledge, initially announced in 2021, had already been reduced by Labour. The party now confirms that the extra investment compared to government plans will be around £4.7bn per year. This will be partially funded by maintaining a higher proposed tax on energy companies’ profits throughout their first term in office if they win.
Starmer defended the changes as “perfectly sensible” and “irresponsible” to ignore the current economic situation. However, left-wing campaign group Momentum and Unite, Labour’s largest union backer, criticised the move as a capitulation to right-wing interests.
The Green Party’s co-leader, Carla Denyer, described the decision as a significant step back for the climate, economy, and quality jobs. Sunak echoed this sentiment, accusing Starmer of trying to evade responsibility for Labour’s economic policy.
Despite these changes, some pledges remain unchanged, including £1.8bn for nine “renewable-ready” ports and £2bn for eight battery factories. However, funding for home insulation grants will now only cover five million homes over five years, instead of 19 million homes over a decade.