Starmer sets out Labour's “missions” and commits to fastest G7 growth by 2029

Fri 24 Feb 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Official portrait of Sir Keir Starmer

[Picture: Official portrait of Sir Keir Starmer, from Parliament's website (source)]

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday (23 February) set out his vision for government in a speech in Manchester.

Starmer announced five “missions” for government if his party wins a general election, which is expected to take place next year according to the BBC. The five missions are to:

  1. Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7
  2. Build an NHS fit for the future
  3. Make Britain’s streets safe
  4. Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage
  5. Make Britain a clean energy superpower

"The message to the British people is clear. Labour is the party of fair growth. Labour is the party of economic stability. Labour is the party of ambition," he said.

Economic mission

Framed as part of a “decade of national renewal”, the first of his missions is for the UK to “secure the highest sustained growth in the G7”.

He noted that Labour’s mission on growth comes with a “second yardstick”, saying that growth “must be powered by good jobs and stronger productivity in every part of the country”.

The Institute of Export & International Trade’s public affairs adviser, Grace Thompson, says this “second yardstick” ties into previous Labour commitments regarding the binding responsibilities that would be placed on trade negotiators to help deliver economic opportunities across the whole of the UK. 

Details of his economic plan included changes to the planning system, a “credible” industrial strategy and an improved British Business Bank to support start-ups and other parts of industry. He emphasised that an industrial strategy under Labour would focus on removing “barriers to investment”.

The FT reports this is part of Starmer’s move to take the centre ground, moving further away from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

Clean energy

The fifth mission is to make the UK a clean-energy superpower and one of the world leaders in this field.

Starmer promised a raft of measures to deliver cheaper bills, as well as protecting energy security and deliver on “green industries of the future”.

Thompson further comments: “A crucial part of the speech for me was the acknowledgement from Sir Keir that, ‘in order to have an economy that is resilient to global shocks and open to global trade’, work needs to be done on supporting and building up supply chains which are ‘critical to our security’. This shows a Labour Party which is seeking to be both pragmatic and outward-looking in equal measure.”

Changes

One of the notable changes was his dropping of various pledges made during the 2020 Leadership contest, although Starmer denied that he had U-turned on any policies.

The Independent reported that the Labour leader came under pressure to explain why the renationalisation of utilities and rail services appeared to have been dropped.

Brexit

As part of his economic pledge, the Labour leader also wants to "reset" the UK's relationship with the EU and “fix the Brexit deal”.

Responding to questions after the speech, Starmer said that a lack economic growth could not just be put down to Brexit, adding that the deal needed to be “improved”.