Keir Starmer at Labour Conference 2022. Pic: The Guardian
Keir Starmer at Labour Conference 2022. Pic: The Guardian

You’ll have no doubt followed the Labour Party Conference on the news and across social media and you’ll have heard about all of the brilliant policies and pledges that we, as the Labour Party, have put forward to the UK public, positioning Labour ready for the General Election.
     As part of conference, Keir Starmer set out his mission for the next Labour government. Labour’s plan is to create an economy that works for working people and gives Britain its hope and its future back.
As a government, we will grow the economy by supporting working people to succeed and partnering with business to grasp the opportunities of the future.
   This is a serious plan for growth rather than a trickle-down fantasy.
     We will take the fight to the Tories on economic growth through ambitious, practical plans for jobs, skills and tackling the climate emergency – our Green Prosperity Plan will make Britain a green growth superpower.
Our plan will create one million new jobs in towns and cities in every corner of the country and allow Britain to lead the world in renewable energy, electric vehicles and hydrogen power.
The future wealth of this country is in our seas, in our winds and in our skies. Labour’s National Wealth Fund and GB Energy company will ensure that the British people have a share in that wealth.
     In government, Labour will partner with business to build the fairer, greener and more dynamic economy of the future.
    Our fully funded and costed plan for growth stands in stark contrast to the ghastly, shambolic budget that we saw from the Tories last week.

Labour are the party of sound money.

     During his speech, Keir made several policy announcements – here’s an overview of some of them.

Clean Power 2030

The next Labour Government will launch an urgent mission for a fossil fuel free electricity system by 2030, making the UK a clean energy superpower, exporting clean power to the rest of the world. This would save UK households £93 billion over the rest of this decade.
      To achieve this target, by 2030 a Labour government would quadruple offshore wind with an ambition of 55GW by 2030, while accelerating the pioneering floating offshore wind technology by fast-tracking at least 5GW of capacity. We would also triple solar power capacity, double onshore wind capacity, and ensure the long-term security of nuclear power.
      A Labour government would invest in carbon capture and storage and hydrogen to ensure that there is sufficient zero-emission back-up power and storage for extended periods without wind or sun, while maintaining a strategic reserve of backup gas power stations to guarantee security of supply.
     We would also double down on green hydrogen  and we would unleash marine and tidal power – something that will no doubt drive the economy here in Newport East no doubt thanks to the Severn’s incredible tidal range.
In terms of existing oil and gas wells, when in government, Labour would manage remaining supplies sustainably over the coming decades, while putting a stop to new oil and gas licences and continuing to oppose fracking right across the UK, not just here in Wales.

 GB Energy

Labour will establish a British publicly-owned company that will help generate the clean power, that will cut bills and provide energy security for the UK. We already have great energy companies investing in Britain, but to roll out clean power at scale, and to ensure that we get the jobs and the supply chains we need in the UK, we need to emulate the success of other European countries and have our own domestic champion.

 GB Energy will enable:

  • Long term investments. Delivering clean power at scale requires long-term investments in a range of new and emerging technologies. GB Energy can make assured investments with reliable capital. It will crowd in private sector investment.
  • Export potential. GB Energy would initially focus on driving forward the deployment of clean power projects at home in the UK. However, as the organisation develops technical expertise, intellectual property rights, and manufacturing capability, this could become an important tool in making the UK a clean energy export superpower.
  • Retain and build wealth for the British people: Currently, profits from our own renewable assets are offshored to foreign Governments. With GB Energy, we can ensure that the power we produce also contributes to our national prosperity and economic renewal and that we profit as a country from development of IP and exports in key technologies.
  • National security: Allowing foreign governments into our energy system has undermined our national security, for example with the UK’s willingness in the 2010s to let the Chinese government into our nuclear programme, or the decision to allow the private sector to close Rough, our only national storage facility. With GB Energy, we can retain the strategic assets we need to build national resilience.
  • Jobs and supply chains. The clean power industry has not been as effective as it could be in delivering jobs right the way through supply chains at home in the UK. A publicly owned company like GB Energy will help address this because it will be rooted in the UK, and can help to grow domestic supply chains, ensuring that homegrown R&D leads to domestic manufacturing and nurturing partnerships with SMEs and large local employers.
  • Clean Power. Labour’s plan to deliver clean power by 2030 will save UK households £93 billion over the rest of this decade. GB Energy will provide additional capacity as we increase clean power, alongside the rapidly expanding private sector, to deliver the investment in renewable and nuclear power.

70% home ownership, more security for renters and more homes

 Labour is the Party of homeownership – our comprehensive plan will target a homeownership rate of 70% and 1.5 million new homeowners

We will help first-time buyers onto the ladder with a new, comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme and giving them ‘first dibs’ on newly built homes and we will introduce a state-backed mortgage insurance scheme, with the state acting as guarantor for prospective homeowners who struggle to save for a large deposit.
This will be modelled on similar successful schemes in other countries, such as Canada and Australia, where mortgage insurance increases the supply and reduces the cost of high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages.
Numerous analyses have found a large group of middle-income renters in stable employment who are locked out of homeownership and stuck in expensive rented accommodation. This group – dubbed ‘resentful renters’ by the Centre for Policy Studies, can easily afford mortgage repayments and in previous years could have easily got a mortgage.
Part of the reason these people cannot buy a house is because the supply of high loan-to-value mortgages has collapsed since the mid-2000s, whilst the supply of buy-to-let mortgages has soared.  Banks are now requesting very large deposits, with government’s own analysis showing saving for a deposit is “the largest hurdle for most prospective home buyers.”
Labour’s scheme will be more comprehensive than existing government schemes with permanent insurance for high LTVs mortgages. Our permanent scheme will establish insured high LTV mortgages as an integral part of the mortgage market that lenders and borrowers are familiar with.
Our scheme will also be more resilient than existing schemes that only operate when lending is riskiest. Similarly, the insurance premium should help temper excessive lending in downturns, raising the cost of riskier lending and ensuring it doesn’t become excessively cheap.
We will also ensure that first-time buyers can access homes that are built, by giving them first dibs on new developments in their area.

      A Labour government will also introduce a renter’s charter to make renting safe, secure and affordable.

Based on trailblazing efforts of Labour in power in Wales, we will introduce a new renters charter across England. The charter will include: longer-term tenancies as standard, the right to reasonable alterations, ending Section 21 and introducing a national register of landlords. We will also introduce a legally binding ‘Decent Homes Standard 2’ updated for the next decade that will apply to all PRS buildings.
Light regulation contributes to the attractiveness of rental properties as a speculative asset and partly explains why the size of the sector has ballooned. Our charter will both improve the experience of renting and crack down on rogue landlords who let out substandard properties as a lucrative, low obligation investment strategy.
We will also raise stamp duty on foreign buyers and stop them buying whole developments ‘off plan’.

      A Labour government will build more homes – creating a new wave of high-quality, diverse communities with infrastructure, green spaces and amenities.
We will build more high-quality, well-designed homes – including social and affordable homes – by rebalancing power between speculators and communities and spurring the creation of a new generation of development corporations.

      For a full round up of everything announced at conference, including our plan for defence and our plan for policing click here

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