- By Becky Morton
- political reporter
Labor has backed away from its pledge to invest £28 billion a year in green industries if it wins power, saying it needs to be “responsible” to public finances.
Instead, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said she would now ramp up her investment over time from her 2024 election victory, reaching £28 billion a year after 2027.
She told the BBC that after the Tories “collapsed the economy”, it was important not to be “reckless” with spending.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Reeves added that after prices and interest rates rise, “financial stability must come first”.
Factors including the war in Ukraine have sent inflation soaring and the Bank of England has raised interest rates, making borrowing more expensive, in an attempt to rein in rising prices.
Former Chancellor Liz Truss’ small budget last year, which included billions of pounds of unfunded tax cuts, also caused turmoil in financial markets and sent interest rates even higher.
“The truth is I didn’t anticipate what the Conservative Party would do to our economy,” Ms. Reeves said.
“We will have the necessary investment. But we have to do it responsibly.”
However, pressed on how much investment will be available in the first year of the Labor government, Ms Reeves will not commit to a figure, arguing that the economic landscape will not be clear until near the time. there.
Announcing the party’s Green Prosperity Plan for 2021, Ms Reeves said £28 billion would come from the loan and would be spent on projects such as offshore wind farms and battery development for electric vehicles.
Since then, the economic picture has changed dramatically, with interest rates and borrowing costs skyrocketing.
Labor wants to be seen as economically reliable and there are private concerns about whether the £28 billion investment is appropriate for the current landscape.
A senior Conservative Party source told the BBC it was no surprise that Labor turned down its pledge.
“Commitments are made when interest rates are at their lowest,” they said.
“Borrowing £28 billion a year for a decade will fuel inflation and force [the Bank of England] further increase interest rates. That’s the pinnacle of irresponsibility.”
The source added that “there are still issues with commitment” and “a lot of the heavy costs that the private sector will invest anyway”.
SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said the move was “the latest in a long string of broken promises” from Labor, which “could have very real and damaging consequences”. for Scotland’s green energy potential”.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said “any turn around would be a big mistake”.
“Without the necessary investment immediately, we will lose the ability to create the thousands of jobs needed by phasing out fossil fuels and we will lose the opportunity to bring green technology industries to life. become the center of the economy,” said political group leader Rebecca Newsom.
Plans for a full free trade agreement have been scrapped but new proposals include giving UK electric car companies access to US subsidies and green tax credits Ky.
She said Labor is drawing inspiration from US President Joe Biden’s plan to tackle inflation and create jobs, including a huge subsidy package and tax breaks for green industries.
However, she said her “safety economics” strategy would be “built on a foundation of financial stability and economic security”, with strict limits on borrowing.
Labor has also promised to set up a publicly owned renewable energy company to create jobs and improve the country’s energy security.