Keir Starmer to pledge to make UK the fastest-growing G7 economy

Sir Keir Starmer will use a speech on Thursday to pledge to make the UK the fastest-growing economy in the G7 if his opposition Labour party wins the next general election.

The promise will be one of five long-term missions for the country as Starmer sets out his vision for a Labour government.

The Labour leader, who has dragged his party towards the centre ground after its “hard left” period under his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, will offer a vision reminiscent of the New Labour era under Tony Blair, who won three elections for the party a generation ago.

“Mission-driven government is a different way altogether. Not state control or pure free markets, but a genuine partnership, sleeves rolled up, working for the national interest,” he will say in his speech in Manchester.

Starmer will announce “five bold missions for a better Britain” on the economy, health, education, climate change and tackling crime. He will promise to introduce “clear and measurable” goals for each major issue, for example the party’s existing 2030 decarbonisation target for the electricity system.

The five pledges mirror the way that Rishi Sunak, the Conservative prime minister, has also issued a list of five priority areas he wants to tackle before the next general election, expected before the end of next year.

Starmer will say that a Labour government would use “new thinking” to come up with “new solutions” to the country’s challenges: “New ways of harnessing the ingenuity that is all around us.”

“I’m not concerned about whether investment or expertise comes from the public or private sector, I just want to get the job done,” he will say.

Momentum, the grassroots pro-Corbyn campaign group, accused Starmer of having “ditched” the leftwing policies he espoused three years ago — when he won the leadership — in favour of “reheated Third-Way Blairism”.

Interviewed on the BBC Today programme about why he had dropped many of his pledges from 2020, when he ran for the leadership, Starmer said the circumstances had changed because of the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Labour leader said he had dropped policies such as taking water, energy and the Royal Mail into public ownership after analysing the cost to the public purse. “We would have to spend a lot of public money on public ownership,” he said.

Asked about his previous plan to scrap university tuition fees, Starmer hinted that the policy would be watered down given financial circumstances: “I do think the way we do tuition fees at the moment doesn’t work . . . we have to look at what’s affordable in the economy we’ve got at the moment.”

Starmer said that Corbyn, currently sitting as an independent MP, would not get to stand as a Labour candidate at the next election.

The Labour leader said one of his priorities had been to “tear antisemitism out of our party” after a spate of incidents involving grassroots members.

“Jeremy was suspended from the whip because of his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission . . . that found just over two years ago that the Labour party had acted unlawfully in breach of equality legislation, that is a serious position for any party to find themselves in.”

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