Unite slams Labour’s plan to drop £28bn green investment pledge

The £28bn a year green investment pledge was a key part of the party's plans to reach climate targets and secure green jobs,

Keir Starmer

Unite the union is among a number of voices today who have criticised the Labour Party for dropping its £28bn green investment pledge.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced the policy with great fanfare at the party’s annual conference in 2021, however Starmer will today confirm that although the green prosperity plan will not be dropped altogether, the party is ditching the financial target to spend £28bn a year on environmental schemes.

The £28bn a year green investment pledge was a key part of the party’s plans to reach climate targets and secure green jobs, however the party is now arguing that it is unable to commit to the £28bn a year figure due to uncertain public finances.

Those in favour of scrapping the commitment, say that it was made in 2021, when interest rates were significantly lower, but the economic picture now is very different and warrants a more fiscally conservative approach.

It also comes amid reports that the Labour Party wants a ‘bombproof’ manifesto, which can’t be easily attacked by the Tories. In recent weeks, the Tories have used the £28bn figure to attack the Labour Party, arguing that sticking to the figure would mean probable tax rises.

However, after confirmation that the party intends to U-turn on the policy, Unite the Union, the party’s biggest donor, has criticised the move.

Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite, said that if different choices were not made, Britain would lag behind other nations. She said: “The retreat from Labour’s £28 billion green investment pledge will confirm workers’ scepticism of the endless promises of jam tomorrow and it will be ‘alright on the night’ rhetoric on the green transition.

“If different choices aren’t made Britain will again lag behind other nations. The German government investment bank already has in its funds equivalent to 15 per cent of German GDP.

“The Labour movement has to stand up to the Conservatives’ false accusations of fiscal irresponsibility. There is a catastrophic crisis of investment in Britain’s economic infrastructure. Britain needs more not less investment.

“This U-turn makes the dangerous language around not granting further oil and gas licences, and the threat to thousands of jobs linked to it, even more ill advised.”

Graham wasn’t the only critical voice when it came to Labour’s U-turn, with former Blair adviser John McTernan telling Newsnight: “It’s probably the most stupid decision the Labour Party’s made.”

He added: “Great parties have great causes. If you don’t have a great cause, you want to change from this government, sure, but change to what? What’s the change Labour now offers? It’s very disappointing.”

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