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Keir Starmer: Labor will fight upcoming election over economic growth |  Work


Labor leader Keir Starmer will try to portray the upcoming general election as a battle for the economy, saying on Monday the priorities of a Labor government would be “growth, growth and growth”.

Echoing Tony Blair’s assertion in 1996 that his top priorities would be “education, education and education”, Starmer is expected to say in a major Liverpool speech that there is “no task more central to my ambitions for Britain than making the country and its people better off, which is why I am confident that Labor will fight the next election on economic growth.

He will present plans for a new industrial strategy council, established on a statutory basis to become “a permanent part of the landscape, which defines national strategic priorities that go beyond the political cycle; holds us accountable for our decisions; and builds investor confidence, which will boost long-term growth and productivity.”

He will say the pandemic and the cost of living crisis have shown that the UK economy in its current state is too “fragile”.

The speech comes amid forecasts that UK economic growth will stagnate next year, with consumer price inflation at 8.2% for the year to June, and a leadership race conservative who has seen deadly clashes over the economy, with Rishi Sunak describing Liz Truss’ plans to borrow billions to fund tax cuts as a “fairy tale”.

However, Starmer also faces a challenge from the left of his party, with Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, calling on Labor on Sunday to abandon its cautious approach to the economy and fight over a radical manifesto including state ownership and a standard of living contract between the government and the public.

Starmer tried to portray Labor as the party of fiscal prudence and will say: “With me and with Rachel Reeves [the shadow chancellor], you will always get healthy finances; prudent spending; strong, secure and equitable growth. There will be no magic money saving with us.

Long-Bailey represents left-wing thinking in the party that fears Starmer is abandoning interventionist policies such as state ownership of utilities that she says would contribute to the cost-of-living crisis.

Starmer’s speech is not presented as providing detailed policies for generating growth and he faced questions about what he might achieve if a long-term global recession and high inflation take hold.

However, he will say his economic plan will be based on three principles – “strong, secure, fair”.

“Strong, because it will build a base where every company and every person will play a part,” he should say.

“Secured because it will produce good jobs that don’t leave people feeling insecure.

“Right, because it will unleash the potential of every place – every community, every town and every city.”

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In an episode of The Rest is Politics podcast last week, former Conservative cabinet minister Rory Stewart asked Starmer about his economic plans.

“We are about to head into a 10-year global recession and even if you become prime minister you have very limited control,” Stewart said. “What are you going to do with interest rates and inflation?”

The Labor leader said he wanted to provide ‘certainty and confidence’ to investors that the manufacture of items such as the wind turbines which generate electricity in the north of England would not be contracted out to countries like China.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats plan to run attack ads against Sunak over the tax hikes he announced when he was chancellor.

Polls for the party suggest the raises are ‘as big a vote loser for the Conservative party as Boris Johnson in the southeast of England’, which the Lib Dems say will be a key battleground in the “blue wall” in the next elections.


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