Angela Rayner: Labour not committed to ‘arbitrary’ figures on green investment

The deputy Labour leader said the party will ‘ramp up’ to spending £28 billion a year

The deputy leader of UK Labour has said it will not "throw money out the door” after being accused of watering down a key pledge to spend £28 billion a year on green investment.

Angela Rayner said it would be “arbitrary” to commit to £28 billion “by immediately the first day”, instead saying the party would “ramp up” to the figure. Critics have accused Labour of making a “deeply damaging” U-turn over the policy.

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In 2021, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves promised to spend an extra £28bn a year when it came into power, but the party has since rowed back on this. Ms Reeves later said it would be a target in the second half of a first parliament, if Labour wins the general election.

Keir Starmer and Angela RaynerKeir Starmer and Angela Rayner
Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner

In an interview with Sky News on Thursday, she repeatedly refused to state whether she stands by the plan.

Ms Rayner was quizzed on the policy while visiting Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on Friday.

Asked if Labour is ditching its £28bn green investment plan, she said: “No. The green prosperity plan is crucial to our growing the economy. We want to be the fastest growing economy in the G7. We’ve said we will ramp up the spending, but for every pound we put in investment, we will make sure we get £3 of investment from the private sector.”

Ms Rayner said Labour will keep within its fiscal rules, adding “It's not about just throwing a figure out there, willy-nilly, and saying ‘well, we'll just put that in just because we said it would be that’. It's got to be part of applying to our fiscal rules."

She said: “We’ve said that we want to move up to £28bn, but we’re not just going to say, ‘oh, we’ve said £28bn, so we’re just going to throw money out the door’.

"This is about identifying where that money will be spent, and when, how quickly we can get that off the ground in a sustainable way to secure the public money and secure that three times the amount of private investment.

"They're the rules that we're applying to that money. Therefore it's arbitrary to say, well, every year it will be £28bn by immediately the first day. Because we don't even know what the public finances are going to be like."

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Questioned further on whether the party was moving away from the £28bn figure, she said: "No, we're saying that we want to ramp up to £28bn. But we're not just going to throw money out there. The fiscal rules that Rachel [Reeves] has applied to that money is that it has to be about investment in jobs of the future as part of our industrial strategy."

Business secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “With Labour’s consistent track record of saying one thing but doing another, this is another Labour promise that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Drew Hendry, the SNP’s economy spokesman, said: "This latest U-turn by Sir Keir Starmer, which mirrors the economic negligence of the Tories, is a deeply damaging move that threatens jobs, investment and economic growth in Scotland – at a time when it's needed more than ever.”



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