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Environmentalists blast Sir Keir's reported green policy U-turn

CLIMATE campaigners voiced disappointment at the prospect of another U-turn from Labour on its green policies yesterday. 

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is reportedly considering rowing back on a pledge to invest billions of pounds in green jobs and industry amid fears that the Tories will use the policy to attack Labour in next year’s general election.

A Labour insider told the Guardian that they expect there will be a “pivot” in the new year on the party’s green pledges and that the promise to eventually invest £28 billion a year is unlikely to survive.

The source said: “Whatever ultimately happens will be a further watering-down of the position. This will be the Tories’ number-one area of attack, so [Labour] need to deal with it.”

Unveiled in 2021, Labour’s green prosperity plan vowed to “cut bills, create jobs, and deliver zero-carbon electricity.”

In June, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced a U-turn on pledges to spend £28bn a year until 2030 on projects to fulfil Labour’s green promises.

In an attempt to prove “fiscal responsibility,” she instead suggested that Labour would “ramp up” investment over time, eventually reaching £28bn annually after 2027.

The Guardian reported that some party officials were concerned about how a Labour government would grow the economy without the green plan, while some senior Labour figures are reportedly pushing to drop the £28bn commitment altogether.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: "By rolling back on his green pledges, Keir Starmer is not only betraying the young and those in the global South, he is betraying everyone in this country who is struggling with their energy bills.”

Mike Childs, head of science, policy & research at Friends of the Earth, said: “Any suggestion that this spending might be optional is ignoring the realities of our broken society and the chaos already being caused by extreme weather in the UK and around the world.”  

Extinction Rebellion pointed out that Parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019 “but has failed to act like there is one ever since.”

The group is sceptical of Labour’s commitments. It said: “The Tories are issuing new oil and gas licences like there is no tomorrow, and Labour is saying they will not revoke them.”

Sir Keir and Ms Reeves are expected to discuss Labour’s flagship economic policy next month.


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