Sir Keir Starmer will further outline what Labour’s economic policies would look like in government and take a shot at the direction of the party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn in a keynote speech tomorrow.
Starmer will say that a Labour government will ensure “Britain will once again grow” and “build an economy of prosperity, in which the places that once powered Britain flourish again”.
The Huddersfield speech is the first in a series of set piece events, which will see Starmer try to definitively distance himself from the socialist policies of Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
He and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves consistently say Labour is now a “pro-business party” and are increasingly comfortable when attacking chancellor Rishi Sunak for hiking taxes.
The left of the Labour party has expressed anger at Starmer for backing away from Corbyn-era policies, particularly after he promised during the 2020 party leadership contest to keep key policies like nationalising utilities and increasing Income Tax for the top five per cent of earners.
Starmer is expected to say tomorrow that “Britain cannot rise to the great challenges of the day without the innovation of business”.
In a direct rebuke of Corbynism, he will say that “a political party without a clear plan for making sure businesses are successful and growing … which doesn’t want them to do well and make a profit … has no hope of being a successful government.”
Starmer will also give more detail around what his economic policies would look like as PM, with the Labour leader to prioritise “revitalising” left behind areas of the UK, driving up productivity and “taking advantage of the opportunities of Brexit”.
Channeling Harold Wilson’s famous “white heat of technology” speech, Starmer will say: “Our country and our economy are entirely different now, but we too are going through the white heat. We face our own revolutions in technology and industry, and it will fall to the next Labour government to shape that change so it works for all.”
With just two years until the next election is due, shadow cabinet ministers have become increasingly vocal about the need to definitively drop Labour’s 2019 election manifesto.
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed told the Mirror last week that Corbyn “cared more about criminals than victims” and that the “2019 manifesto is no longer the Labour party’s policy platform”.
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds recently told a UK Finance event that a key Labour business policy from 2019, which would have seen 10 per cent of equity in large companies given to workers without compensation, was not “credible” or “realistic”.