Major u-turn

Labour to axe £28bn green energy investment pledge

Sir Keir Starmer: finalising manifesto (pic: Terry Murden)

Labour will officially drop its plan to spend £28bn a year on green investment in what will be seen as a major u-turn.

The party is expected to make an official announcement on Thursday and will face criticism from Opposition parties, particularly the SNP which is vying to be seen as the champion of the renewables sector.

Sources have indicated Labour will retain its Green Prosperity Plan which includes a commitment to creating a publicly-owned energy company, though details about how it would be structured and what it would deliver remain sketchy.

It has previously made a big play about the energy company following the SNP’s decision in 2021 to abandon its own plans for a similar enterprise.

Labour is also likely to come under fire for repeatedly insisting that its green energy plans remained on track, though statements from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Deputy leader Angela Rayner have hinted at a watering down of the policy.

Sir Keir had set a deadline of Thursday to finalise his party’s draft general election manifesto and is now likely to admit that it could not stick to the £28bn figure, which implied considerable borrowing, while adopting a responsible approach to public finances.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott said: “This is a serious moment which confirms Labour have no plan for the UK, creating uncertainty for business and our economy.

“On the day that Labour are finalising their manifesto, Keir Starmer is torpedoing what he has claimed to be his central economic policy purely for short-term campaigning reasons.”

SNP Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn said: “Keir Starmer’s damaging decision to cut energy investment will destroy Scottish jobs, harm economic growth and hit families in the pocket by keeping energy bills high.

“It’s a weak and shortsighted U-turn, which shows Westminster is incapable of delivering the investment Scotland needs to compete in the global green energy gold rush and secure strong economic growth.

“As our partners and allies across the world press ahead with investment to attract jobs and secure economic and energy security, the UK has turned away. It’s as depressing as it is predictable.

“The UK economy is broken and Starmer’s latest U-turn is symptomatic of a bigger problem. By signing up to Brexit and Tory fiscal rules, Starmer is setting the UK on the path to another decade of poor growth and harmful cuts to public services.”

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