In a speech delivered in Manchester this morning, Sir Keir Starmer set out five national missions that he believes will give the UK “its confidence, its hope and its future back”. Starmer’s missions come a month after Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, set out five goals of his own which included halving inflation by the end of the year and cutting NHS waiting times.
If Labour wins the next election, Starmer has set out the following five missions which will be central to his tenure as Prime Minister:
- Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7
- Build an NHS fit for the future
- Make Britain’s streets safe
- Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage
- Make Britain a clean energy superpower
During the speech in Manchester, Starmer was bullish about his goals, saying that they will “form the backbone of the Labour manifesto and the pillars of the next Labour government.” He added:
“They will be measurable, so we can track progress and be held to account. Long-term so we can beyond the day-to-day. Informed by experts and the public, so we can build a coalition for change. And each will support our drive for growth. Each will help us get our future back.
Starmer didn’t go into too much detail on each of his five missions, with the Labour leader saying that he will expand on them all in speeches in the coming months. However, he did touch a little on his plans for economic growth and clean energy.
Securing the highest growth in the G7 will be no easy feat. The other nations that make up the group are the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan – all of which are faring better economically than the UK as it stands. According to forecasts, the UK are the only country in the G7 whose economy will shrink in 2023.
Starmer says he has been talking to economic experts and business leaders about how he will be able to achieve this goal and he has come to the conclusion that growth will be powered by “good jobs and stronger productivity in every part of the country”.
On making the UK a superpower with respect to clean energy, he said that he aims to insulate 19 million homes across the country as a starting point. After that, he wants people to be trained in green jobs and also spoke of a new publicly owned company called “Great British Energy” that will generate renewable sources.
Starmer said that he planned to nationalise energy, rail and water back in 2019 but this new plan seems to suggest a U-turn on the matter. He said that he isn’t “concerned about whether investment or expertise comes from the public or private sector” as long as he gets the job done. He added:
“If the aspiration is merely to replace the public sector while extracting a rent to privatise the profits, that takes us nowhere.”
Considering he is the leader of the opposition, it was unsurprising that Starmer threw in a few subtle and not-so-subtle digs at the current government throughout his speech. At one point he said that Britain had been bogged down by a lack of government proactiveness. He said: “we lurch from one crisis to another, always reacting, always behind the curve.”
He labelled the last 13 years of conservative rule as “sticking plaster politics” which has seen the country sink into a recession and an NHS crisis. He finished off by saying:
“This is the case for change, a new government and a new way of governing. Britain needs both and with Labour, Britain will get both.”
The Labour Party currently has a lead of around 20% over the Conservatives in nationwide polls. This suggests that Starmer would need to do something substantially foolish to blow such a lead with a general election set to take next year.
Something that many would consider “foolish” would be to conduct a U-turn on something he promised when he was running for party leadership. Relentless U-turns have played a huge part in the downfall of the conservative party in the last couple of years, so Starmer’s decision to go back on nationalisation may well prove costly.
Aside from that, the goals set out by the Labour leader are all things the British people would like to see accomplished in the coming years. How achievable they are, though, remains to be seen.