Starmer promises Labour will deliver ‘decade of renewal’ after doubts cast over Sunak pledges
A Labour government will deliver “a decade of national renewal” to show “the light at the end of the tunnel” for the British people, opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer will claim in his first speech of 2023 tomorrow.
Speaking in Stratford, East London, Starmer, 60, is set to characterise the more than decade of Conservative rule as boiling down to “sticking plaster politics”.
The remarks come after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier today set out his agenda for the year ahead, outlining five pillars the public should use to judge whether the government is “delivering” for them.
Sunak promised to halve inflation, grow the economy, cut NHS waiting lists, get the national debt falling and tackle the migrant boat crisis, although it is unclear when he expects to hit all of those targets.
Experts suspect inflation has passed its peak and will fall in the coming year. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility reckons average calendar year inflation will hit 7.4 per cent in 2023, down from 9.1 per cent last year.
Britain is in the teeth of a wave of strikes that have kneecapped the railway, postal and health care systems.
Workers are demanding pay rises to offset inflation eroding their living standards and more concrete protection on working conditions.
Sunak and other ministers claim dishing out inflation-busting public sector pay rises risks embedding high inflation – running at a 40-year high of 10.7 per cent – over the long run.
Without sketching out policy details, Starmer is expected to say tomorrow a Labour government will create an “economy and a politics” the British public “deserve,” .
Experts reckon the country has already slipped into an at least year-long recession that could wipe off nearly two per cent from UK GDP, largely driven by Brits cutting spending in response to rising prices and the Bank of England lifting interest rates aggressively.
UK economy is on course for a long recession
The Conservatives last year blazed through three prime ministers, including Liz Truss, who seized the unwanted title as the shortest serving No 10 incumbent ever after her botched mini-budget forced her to quit.
Now Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Sunak launched £55bn worth of tax hikes and spending cuts in November to reassure financial markets and rebalance the public finances. Hunt will deliver a spring budget on 15 March.
Critics have argued Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves have yet to unveil how they would revive the UK economy while balancing the books.
A Labour administration will not let loose “its big government chequebook,” Starmer will say tomorrow, suggesting the party could in its election manifesto broadly stick to the fiscal prudence followed by Hunt.
As part of their policy offering, the opposition leader signalled Labour would consider delegating decision making to local leaders to prevent power being too concentrated in Westminster.
“Britain needs a completely new way of governing. You can’t overstate how much a short-term mindset dominates Westminster.”
“No more Westminster hoarding power, no more holding back this country’s economic potential,” he will say.