Labour ditch £28bn green prosperity pledge

Rachel Reeves is shadow chancellor <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Rachel Reeves is shadow chancellor (Image: PA)

LABOUR have ditched its £28 billion green prosperity plan, claiming it cannot give a “final set of numbers” on spending until a further fiscal statement from the Government.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the £28bn figure previously aimed for by Labour would be a target to work towards rather than the amount initially allocated for the plan in the first year of government, as previously pledged.

Asked why Labour previously planned for £28bn, she said: “The truth is I didn’t foresee what the Conservatives would do to our economy – maybe that was foolish of me.”

She added: “The other thing that has happened in last two years is the Tories have crashed our economy, and as a result interest rates have gone up 12 times, inflation is now at 8.7% and I’ve always said our fiscal rules are non-negotiable.

“Economic stability, financial stability, always has to come first and it will do with Labour.

"That’s why it’s important to ramp up and phase up our plans to get to the investment we need to secure these jobs so that it is also consistent with those fiscal rules to get debt down as a share of GDP and to balance day-to-day spending.”

Reeves insisted that Ed Miliband, the shadow net zero secretary, was “on the same page” as her.

“Keir, Ed and me are all on the same page on this. We know that unless we have this green prosperity plan those jobs and investments will go elsewhere, but that everything we do must rest on these pillars of economic responsibility and fiscal responsibility."

It could spark a row within Labour, despite outward shows of unity, with Miliband arguing the party would not "back down" on its green spending commitments.

He tweeted: "Some people don’t want Britain to borrow to invest in the green economy. They want us to back down.

"But Keir, Rachel and I will never let that happen. Britain needs this £28bn a year plan and that is what we are committed to."