Starmer promises ‘long-term strategy’ in business-friendly Labour manifesto

Keir Starmer will put economic growth and wealth creation at the heart of Labour’s offer to voters as he launches a business-friendly manifesto targeted at former Conservative voters.

The Labour leader will launch his election manifesto in Greater Manchester on Thursday, promising to emphasise economic stability in a deliberate contrast to the Conservatives’ more policy-heavy offering earlier this week.

The Labour manifesto will promise to not raise corporation tax, and to launch a new industrial strategy with clean energy at its centre and enact rapid planning reforms to incentivise developers to build new infrastructure.

With even senior Conservatives now talking about the possibility of a Labour landslide next month, party officials say they will not trip up in the final stages of the campaign by making promises voters do not trust.

Starmer will say: “On 4 July, the British people can choose a different path for our country. Stability over pantomime politics; long-term strategy over short-term gimmick; and growth, not decline. That’s the change our manifesto will offer.”

In a separate piece for the Guardian, the shadow chancellor repeats that message, citing her background as an economist at the Bank of England as evidence of her commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Rachel Reeves calls the Tory manifesto, which promised £17bn worth of tax cuts under a Conservative government, a “reckless and dishonest offer”. She adds: “I started my career as an economist at the Bank of England, and I can tell you exactly where this would lead.”

Starmer will launch the manifesto against the backdrop of a steady 20-point Labour lead, which models suggest would give the party a majority of nearly 200, even more than it won in 1997.

For months Tories had insisted Labour’s lead would start to disappear during the election campaign, but they have shifted tactics in recent days to warning that Labour could be heading for a once-in-a-generation majority.

Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, said on Wednesday: “If you want to make sure that in this next government, whoever forms it, that there is a proper system of accountability, then we would argue that you don’t want to have somebody receive a super-majority.”

Starmer has warned his party about not becoming complacent, however, and said this weekend he reminded himself every day that not a vote had been cast.

And in a pitch to left-leaning voters who may be thinking of voting for Green or independent candidates, Reeves says in her Guardian article: “This is our chance to end the chaos, turn the page and start a decade of national renewal. Your vote matters – don’t waste this chance.”

Partly as a result of Labour’s refusal to take electoral chances, the party’s manifesto will not contain any promises it has not previously announced. It will feature several glossy pictures of Starmer himself – unlike the Tory manifesto, which included none of the prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

The document will be structured around Starmer’s five missions for government: the economy, education, health, energy and crime. A third of it, however, will be dedicated to the economy.

Labour will promise to keep corporation tax at 25%, to reform the planning system to make it easier to get permission to build, and to devolve powers over transport, skills, housing and planning to local mayors.

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The party will also pledge to establish two new energy institutions: a generation company called Great British Energy, and an investment vehicle called the National Wealth Fund to put money into cutting-edge green technology.

The manifesto will promise a series of employment reforms, which have been thrashed out with unions in recent weeks. But in a blow for some public sector unions, it will promise to use the private sector to help get NHS waiting lists down, without any time limit on how long it might do so.

PoliticsHome reported on Wednesday the party had also dropped the wording: “The NHS is not for sale”, which had appeared in its pre-manifesto National Policy Forum document last year.

The Guardian has also learned Labour will use its manifesto to make a number of promises to leaseholders and renters, which Michael Gove, the housing secretary, had promised but then was forced to abandon under pressure from Downing Street. They include a pledge to end no-fault evictions “immediately”, after the Conservatives watered down their own pledge to do so towards the end of the parliament.

Labour will also promise to end the “feudal” leasehold system, including a pledge to take measures to stop developers selling new flats as leasehold. The leasehold reforms, which have been steered by Labour’s shadow housing minister, Matthew Pennycook, also include measures to tackle “unaffordable” ground rents and “unfair” maintenance charges. The party will also promise to end “fleecehold estates” where residents are locked into private contracts to maintain communal areas.

Starmer’s determination not to lose votes on Labour’s right flank was underlined on Wednesday as he launched a set of promises designed to show he was on the side of motorists, including to fix millions of potholes and review high motor insurance.

Speaking to journalists on the campaign trail, the Labour leader waxed lyrical about one of his first cars, a Morris Minor known as “the Hedge”.

“It fell apart pretty quickly. It was called the Hedge because it was so dilapidated and moss was growing out of it,” he said. Starmer now owns a hybrid Toyota, but said he did not drive as much as he would like.


Updated: Juni 12, 2024 — 11:01 pm

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