February 28, 2024


Labour accused of ‘massive backward step’ over decision to drop £28bn green investment pledge

Good morning. After weeks of uncertainty about its future, the Guardian is reporting that Labour’s plan to spend £28bn a year on green investment projects is definitely set to go.

That does not mean Labour is giving up on its green energy mission. But the £28bn a year figure had become a liability, because the Tories repeatedly depicted it as a gateway to higher taxes, and so that particular feature of the policy is being dropped.

But Labour has not actually announced this. The Guardian story is based on information from party sources, and it has not been officially confirmed. On the Today programme this morning Chris Mason, the BBC’s political editor said that, when he sought to stand it up, he was told by one figure in the party the story “shouldn’t be seen as any more authoritative than all the other speculation there has been on this”.

Having decided to drop the £28bn the, Labour now has to decide how to announce this. There are two options; a hard, sharp U-turn, that gets widely noticed, while looking humiliating; or a soft, gradual U-turn. Labour has been embarked on the latter for a while (the £28bn policy has already been subject to various revisions watering it down), but the attacks from CCHQ have not stopped.

The big danger for Labour is that, by closing down a line of attack from the right, they are opening one up from the left. And the Green party has obliged, describing the U-turn as “massive backward step”. This is what Carla Denyer, the Green party’s co-leader, said in a statement about the Labour policy released yesterday.

Just as the president of the British Chambers of Commerce calls on the next government to make the transition to a green economy its number one priority, Labour decides to shred their £28bn green investment plan. This is a massive backward step – for the climate, for the economy and for jobs.

This U-turn will push businesses into taking their investment elsewhere – especially to the EU and US where green investment plans are being rolled out – and threatens thousands of potential exciting new job opportunities. The UK’s future prosperity is dependent on greening our economy and that requires large scale investment.

While the Tories have broken Britain and left the country’s finances in a dire state, Labour can choose whether or not to have this “fiscal inheritance” as a millstone around their neck …

Investing in this secure future is a political choice. By ditching its green investment plan, and making a series of other U-turns, Labour has clearly signalled that it is turning its back on a fairer, greener future. It is clear we are going to need a group of Green MPs in parliament after the next election pushing whoever forms the next government to do the right thing.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: MPs debate private members’ bills.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

Late morning: Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, joins Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, on a visit in Edinburgh.

Noon: The political parties in Northern Ireland are meeting to dis

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 laptop or a desktop. 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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Key events

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI director general, has welcomed Labour’s approach to business as set out yesterday at the party’s business conference.

In an interview with LBC, she said:

It was great to see Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, and Keir Starmer clearly setting out that they absolutely want to work in partnership with business were they to be in power, which of course is great news for us.

Reeves in her speech set out that, were she to become chancellor, she would set up a corporate tax roadmap within the first six months, which I think is really important and something that the CBI has long been calling for.

She set out that corporation tax wouldn’t rise from where it is now and importantly, that any changes in our overall tax mix would really take into account how competitive we are in global markets so that if other countries move, the UK will move to follow suit. And I think that is what we want to see.

But, asked about the £28bn green investment pledge, Rain-Smith said “it didn’t sound like they were dropping that commitment”. (She needs to read the Guardian.)

Senior MP confirms Labour has dropped £28bn target for green investment

In his Sky News interview this morning Darren Jones, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, confirmed the party has ditched its commitment to spend £28bn a year on green investment schemes if it wins this year’s election, Kiran Stacey reports.

Jones said:

The number that we will get to [for green investment], if we are in government, will be subject to two things.

Firstly, it will be subject to the state of the economy. We know we’re going to inherit a bad economy from the Conservatives, but we have plans to turn that around, and of course, we hope to be successful doing that. But it will also be subject to case-by-case business cases that if, I’m the chief secretary to the Treasury in the next Labour government, I will have to sign off.

Here is Kiran’s full story.

Darren Jones. Photograph: Andy Hall/The Observer

Treasury minister claims Labour isn’t dropping £28bn green spending targets because its clean energy mission depends on it

The Conservative party has responded to reports that Labour has dropped its target to get green investment up to £28bn a year by – insisting that it hasn’t.

Labour is still committed to its clean energy mission, its plan to deliver “a cheaper, zero-carbon electricity system by 2030”, and the Tories are saying that this will require investment of £28bn a year.

In a statement issued this morning by CCHQ, Laura Trott, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said:

Labour are now trying to pretend they never said their 2030 energy policy would cost £28bn a year, despite repeatedly saying that their 2030 policy costs £28bn a year.

Labour are resorting to this desperate dishonesty because they cannot say how they will pay for their 2030 spending spree as they do not have a plan.

Everyone knows they will end up having to raise thousands of pounds of taxes on working people to fill their £28bn black hole.

In its news release, CCHQ has included various quotes from Labour shadow cabinet ministers implying the party set £28bn a year as a target because that was the sum needed to achieve the clean energy mission. For example, it quotes Kerry McCarthy, the shadow climate change minister, telling parliament in February last year:

We will invest £28bn per year to tackle the climate emergency through our green prosperity plan, which will allow us to insulate 19 million homes within a decade; to deliver a clean power system by 2030 ….

But the CCHQ news release also quotes Darren Jones, the shadow chief secrtary to the Treasury, telling Sky News this morning that the two targets were not as closely linked as the Tories were implying. He said:

Just a little clarification, so the £28bn came from some academic research which looked at the level of ambition an incoming government should have to reach net zero by 2050, not the mission for energy security, clean energy power by 2030. They’re slightly different targets.

Laura Trott. Photograph: Tayfun Salcı/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Green party calls for wealth tax to fund green investment programme

The Green party is calling for a wealth tax to fund a green investment programme. Here is another extract from the statement issued by Carla Denyer, the Green party’s co-leader, criticising Labour for dropping the £28bn a year target for green investment. (See 9.19am.) She said:

A different approach through tax reforms, in particular by introducing a wealth tax on the super-rich, could help pay for the green transition. There is more than enough money in the economy to pay for this. Indeed, the Green party would go further and faster, investing at least double what Labour originally pledged, so we can turbo charge the transition to a green economy.

Greens recognise that investing in a green future will provide people with economic, social and environmental security. By decarbonising industry, insulating buildings, and ramping up renewable energy infrastructure, the UK can drastically reduce emissions, cut household bills and create new, good quality, well-paid and secure jobs in every corner of the country.

Carla Denyer. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Labour accused of ‘massive backward step’ over decision to drop £28bn green investment pledge

Good morning. After weeks of uncertainty about its future, the Guardian is reporting that Labour’s plan to spend £28bn a year on green investment projects is definitely set to go.

That does not mean Labour is giving up on its green energy mission. But the £28bn a year figure had become a liability, because the Tories repeatedly depicted it as a gateway to higher taxes, and so that particular feature of the policy is being dropped.

But Labour has not actually announced this. The Guardian story is based on information from party sources, and it has not been officially confirmed. On the Today programme this morning Chris Mason, the BBC’s political editor said that, when he sought to stand it up, he was told by one figure in the party the story “shouldn’t be seen as any more authoritative than all the other speculation there has been on this”.

Having decided to drop the £28bn the, Labour now has to decide how to announce this. There are two options; a hard, sharp U-turn, that gets widely noticed, while looking humiliating; or a soft, gradual U-turn. Labour has been embarked on the latter for a while (the £28bn policy has already been subject to various revisions watering it down), but the attacks from CCHQ have not stopped.

The big danger for Labour is that, by closing down a line of attack from the right, they are opening one up from the left. And the Green party has obliged, describing the U-turn as “massive backward step”. This is what Carla Denyer, the Green party’s co-leader, said in a statement about the Labour policy released yesterday.

Just as the president of the British Chambers of Commerce calls on the next government to make the transition to a green economy its number one priority, Labour decides to shred their £28bn green investment plan. This is a massive backward step – for the climate, for the economy and for jobs.

This U-turn will push businesses into taking their investment elsewhere – especially to the EU and US where green investment plans are being rolled out – and threatens thousands of potential exciting new job opportunities. The UK’s future prosperity is dependent on greening our economy and that requires large scale investment.

While the Tories have broken Britain and left the country’s finances in a dire state, Labour can choose whether or not to have this “fiscal inheritance” as a millstone around their neck …

Investing in this secure future is a political choice. By ditching its green investment plan, and making a series of other U-turns, Labour has clearly signalled that it is turning its back on a fairer, greener future. It is clear we are going to need a group of Green MPs in parliament after the next election pushing whoever forms the next government to do the right thing.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: MPs debate private members’ bills.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

Late morning: Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, joins Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, on a visit in Edinburgh.

Noon: The political parties in Northern Ireland are meeting to dis

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 laptop or a desktop. 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.

Updated at 



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