Labour set to further water down £28bn green plans: reports

(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Labour may be set to further water down its pledge to spend £28bn-a-year on green initiatives, according to reports.

Both the BBC and the Telegraph reported that the plan could be scaled back again as Labour instead focuses on meeting the party’s fiscal rules.

Labour had originally promised in 2021 to invest £28bn-a-year until 2030 in green projects if it came to power. But in June shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that the figure would instead be a target to work towards in the second half of a first parliament.

Now the party could be set to backtrack further. The Tories have latched onto the policy to attack Labour’s fiscal credibility, attacking the idea of the extra borrowing needed to fund the pledge.

The BBC said that a senior source in Sir Keir Starmer’s office suggested the £28bn figure may not be reached at all due to the current state of the public finances.

A source also told the Telegraph that fulfilling Labour’s fiscal rules was more important than meeting that pledge.

The party’s rules include paying for day-to-day expenditure through tax receipts and getting debt down as a share of the economy.

Any move to further dilute the commitment is likely to anger climate campaigners and prompt accusations of another U-turn by Sir Keir.

Hannah Martin, co-director of the Green New Deal Rising campaign group, said any such move would be a “disaster”.

“Failing to commit even to the basics of investing in our planet and economy would be a huge betrayal – and our generation won’t let them forget it,” she said.

It comes after Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement offered significant tax cuts, but pencilled in steep curbs in public spending beyond the next general election.

Sir Keir Starmer has already acknowledged that his party will face “tough choices” if it wins the next general election.

PA – Dominic McGrath


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