Keir Starmer says Labour would repeal Tories’ strike bill in speech to trade union – UK politics live | Politics
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Keir Starmer is deliving his speech to the GMB conference now. There is a live feed at the top of the blog.

He says the unions and the Labour party have different ways of fighting for workers.

During the Wapping dispute, he was there as a legal observer, he says.

Union members were there too, doing their job.

But the Labour party was not able to do its job, because it was in opposition, he says.

Labour’s £28bn climate investment plan will only go ahead if it meets party’s fiscal rules, shadow cabinet minister says

In their FT article on Labour’s plans for government Jim Pickard and George Parker also say there is some unease in the party about its climate investment pledge – the plan announced at the 2021 conference to spend £28bn a year until the end of the decade on climate measures.

Pickard and Parker say, in relative terms, this is more ambitious than Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which involves similar investments in green energy. They say:

The Labour plan, as currently conceived, is even more ambitious than the US IRA in relative terms. Labour’s green subsidies would cost £28bn a year against Washington’s proposed $37bn a year — even though the US has five times the population and eight times the GDP (although some estimates put the cost of the IRA’s incentives much higher).

But Pickard and Parker says some Labour figures think a spending pledge on this scale will be hard to defend in an election campaign. They write:

But there are signs that the party is starting to get cold feet about the sheer scale of what it has proposed.

The plan was born in an era of 0.1 per cent interest rates, when the idea of borrowing £28bn a year until 2030 attracted relatively little comment. Rates now stand at 4.5 per cent and are expected to rise further.

Some in Labour’s team are starting to wonder whether, given the sharp rise in borrowing costs and the competing demands to spend scarce funds on public services, the plan is still affordable. “I’m not convinced it’s the best use of that money given the deadweight costs, which could be spent elsewhere — for example, hospitals or schools,” says one influential Labour politician …
Labour officials point out it would take a couple of years to ramp up spending to the £28bn target. Others say that if Sunak announced new proposals for the green economy before the election, that spending would be deducted from the Labour target.

And, most crucially, Reeves made it clear that the spending would in any event have to comply with the fiscal rule Labour has outlined, which would see debt falling as a share of GDP after five years. “If it’s a choice between the green prosperity plan and the fiscal rules, the fiscal rules would trump the former,” says one Starmer aide.

Labour politicians do not quote the £28bn figure much in interviews, and it is not included in the overnight briefing on Starmer’s speech today. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow work and pensions secretary, was giving interviews for the party this morning. On the Today programme he was asked about the FT article and whether Labour remained fully committed to spending £28bn a year on climate investment. He replied:

Well, remember we have adopted a very tough fiscal framework. We will not borrow for day to day spending. We saw what happened when the Conservatives went on a boring binge. It led to turmoil on the markets.

Asked if that meant Labour was willing to drop the £28bn spending plan, he replied:

Our fiscal framework will always come first.

The difference between what the Conservatives did, and what we are doing, is we are investing in the jobs of the future which will bring inflation down.

On Sunday Gary Smith, the GMB general secretary, gave an interview criticising Labour’s proposal not to issue any new licences for oil or gas extraction in the North Sea. He made the same point in his speech to the conference yesterday, and he restated his case in a Today programme interview this morning.

Sir Keir Starmer speaks today at the GMB conference, amid nervousness about Labour’s policy of ending new North Sea oil and gas licences.

GMB Union boss Gary Smith says transition to green technologies is possible but ‘we need a managed decline and not a cliff edge’.#R4Today

— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) June 6, 2023

But Smith is more positive about Labour in the Financial Times today, where he is quoted in a long read by Jim Pickard and George Parker about Keir Starmer’s plans for government. They report:

The shadow chancellor’s visit to Washington was a signal that a prospective Labour government wants to introduce a significantly more interventionist industrial policy and has a bolder plan for the economy than many had anticipated.
Senior figures at the helm of Britain’s main opposition party are piecing together a manifesto which, despite the soothing, pro-business rhetoric, would still represent a striking shift in the way the economy is run.

“I think it’s much more radical than people give him credit for,” says Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB union, a major donor to Labour.

Sue Gray cleared to take up Labour job this autumn

The former civil servant Sue Gray has been cleared to take up her new role as Keir Starmer’s chief of staff in the autumn after a vetting board rejected calls for her to have a much longer period of gardening leave, Ben Quinn and Pippa Crerar report.

Keir Starmer to defend Labour’s energy plans in speech to GMB

Good morning. There is some good polling around for Keir Starmer and Labour today – Redfield and Wilton Strategies has Starmer leading Rishi Sunak on every single leadership trait polled, Survation has the Tory lead over Labour in the 100 most rural English seats down from 39 points in 2019 to just five points now – but this morning Starmer has to give a speech to a union whose leader has strongly criticised Labour’s energy policy.

Starmer will respond by telling the GMB that Labour’s plan to transition to clean energy will create jobs for its members. “Jobs – good, union jobs – will be fundamental to cleaner, safer work, new and better infrastructure for Britain,” he will say.

But, according to the extracts from the speech briefed overnight, he will also flesh out Labour’s critique of the Tories.

I’m not even sure [the Conservatives] see the problem. If the City of London races ahead while the rest of Britain stagnates, as long as there was a hint of growth on his spreadsheet, Rishi Sunak would think that’s fine. But it’s not.

If you leave this many people behind, a nation cannot grow fairly. We can’t do it with low wages. We can’t do it with insecure jobs and bad work, with a stand-aside state that doesn’t fight for the future, without a proper industrial strategy.

In this passage Starmer is trying to draw a contrast between his economic mission, which promises “good jobs and productivity growth in every part of the country making everyone, not just a few, better of”, and Sunak’s priorities, which seem to be more focused on just the national, headline rate of growth (although Sunak says growth would lead to “better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country”).

For too long, Britain has allowed the opportunities of the new energy technologies to pass us by. Without a plan, the energy industries we rely on will wither and decline.

The Tories think it’s the market doing its job when British industry falls behind. It’s not some glitch in their model – it is the model.

There is no way to growth in Britain in holding back the future. But equally, there is no way to growth that doesn’t involve bending and shaping it.

We can create a new business model for Britain, one which creates economic security and grows not just our productivity, but our hope and our optimism.

Although this passage seems to be mostly aimed at the Tories, it is probably also directed at those on the left, such as the GMB leader, Gary Smith, who believe Labour should not be proposing to block all new domestic oil and gas developments. Starmer believes clean energy is the future.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Rishi Sunak chairs cabinet.

10.30am: Keir Starmer gives a speech to the GMB conference. He will pledge to put “good, union jobs” at the heart of Labour’s energy policy.

10.30am: Heather Hallett, the chair of the Covid inquiry, is expected to comment on her legal battle with the government over the disclosure of government during a preliminary hearing in public relating to UK decision-making and political governance.

11.15am: Kemi Badenoch, the business and trade secretary, gives evidence to the Commons European scrutiny committee about the retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

After 12.30pm: MPs debate all stages of the British nationality (regularisation of past practice) bill.

If you want to contact me, do try the “send us a message” feature. You’ll see it just below the byline – on the left of the screen, if you are reading on a PC or a laptop. This is for people who want to message me directly. I find it very useful when people message to point out errors (even typos – no mistake is too small to correct). Often I find your questions very interesting too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either in the comments below the line, privately (if you leave an email address and that seems more appropriate), or in the main blog, if I think it is a topic of wide interest.

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