Keir Starmer speech setting out Labour’s economic mission – to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7
Thank you Rachel. And thank you all for coming to the launch of Labour’s mission for the British economy.
A collective ambition, a partnership – To secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.
With good jobs, productivity growth in every part of the country, growth which makes everyone, not just a few, better off.
Now, I won’t beat around the bush with an audience like this, you know that our country has distinctive strengths – our universities, our service exports, excellence in life sciences, finance, tech, and creative industries.
But you also know that these strengths depends upon stability and standing – global standing.
And that these two fundamentals – things we’ve always taken for granted in Britain, have undeniably taken a hit.
I know this isn’t a partisan audience but we do need to be frank about the path of decline the Tories have set us on.
It’s not just the chaos of the past 12 months, there’s also the 12 years that went before it.
The austerity which has gnawed away at our growth potential.
Placed the mess made – let’s be blunt – in this part of this city onto the shoulders of working people.
12 years where ‘trickle-down’ and ‘trickle-out’ growth strategies failed to deliver a better future for them.
12 years where other countries sped past us in the race for the opportunities of tomorrow.
That’s what our growth mission is about.
The British people are falling behind while our European neighbours get richer in the east, as well as in countries like France and Germany.
I’m not comfortable with that, not comfortable with a trajectory that will soon see Britain overtaken by Poland.
Nor am I prepared to accept what the consequences of this failure would mean.
I don’t want a Britain where young people, in our great towns and cities, are left with no option but to get out.
A brain drain – not just to London or Edinburgh, but to Lyon, Munich, and Warsaw.
That’s not the future our country deserves.
But nobody owes us a future. We’ve got to get it back ourselves, claw back that sense of stability and standing.
Because when the big questions that echo round rooms like this are raised – where does our money go, where do our jobs go, where does our investment in a better future go, I want the answer that comes back to be a resounding – why not Britain?
That’s why I went to Davos with Rachel last year. Rachel and I have met thousands of business leaders, CEOs all over the country, some of you here today.
We’ve heard and listened – loud and clear – about the need for certainty.
That chaos has a cost, that investors need a clear framework: with policies that are always fully costed. Fiscal rules – sound and followed rigorously. Constraints – accepted. Institutions – respected and not bypassed. A rock of economic stability.
Our entire mission for growth is built on that – don’t doubt it for a second.
But honestly isn’t this the least we should expect? I think so.
Britain needs certainty yes, but also change and this is my real ambition, the goal that fires my imagination. A new model for economic growth, growth from the grassroots. Where wealth is created everywhere, by everyone, for everyone.
Where we take off the blinkers to the potential of an active government that sets the direction and where we come together in a partnership, raise our collective sights beyond the day-to-day, deliver the long-term solutions our country needs.
So – here in this document – the mission: secure the highest sustained growth in the G7. A measurable goal. An invitation for the British people to judge us on whether they feel better off after five years of a Labour Government.
But also – the building blocks of a clear strategy, the first steps of a credible, long-term plan.
A plan which represents the determination of my party to create more wealth, lead Britain out of its low wage, high tax, doom-loop.
Get our confidence, our standing and our future back.
Five shifts in Britain’s growth model.
From chaos to certainty. From hoarding potential to unlocking power in every community. From lagging to leading – on science, technology, green growth and the opportunities of tomorrow.
A labour market that moves from too many insecure jobs to good work for all.
And a Britain that is resilient to global shocks and open to global trade.
In each of these five areas we have three clear commitments – 15 first steps on the path to national renewal.
Steps like our modern industrial strategy – that will get everyone around the table, remove barriers to investment.
A Green Prosperity Plan that will provide the catalytic investment needed to become a clean energy superpower.
A more powerful British Business Bank that will support start-ups to grow and scale.
More flexible skills training for apprenticeships and the short courses which can train coders and programmers in weeks.
And a fixed Brexit deal – a reset relationship with the EU – for the whole country, not just Northern Ireland.
All this and more is in this document.
And on growth – it’s the only show in town.
But I will also be straight with you and the British people.
Yes, our missions are ambitious, the highest sustained growth in the G7 – that should draw a sharp intake of breath.
But there is a humility that comes with this ambition. It’s an important part of what we’re saying, we can’t do it alone. Change comes from us all. Growth comes from us all.
Mission-driven government is about much more than cherry-picking numbers on a spreadsheet and saying – job done.
It’s about national pride and national renewal, not state control or pure free markets, but a genuine partnership, sleeves rolled-up, working for the national interest.
The how is as important as the what. Partnership is an economic imperative.
So today – I ask you to join me.
Now is the time to be part of something bigger – apartnership – between business, unions, civil society, communities, between all our four nations. And most radically of all – between politicians and people.
A national mission that changes, not just what we do on growth, but how we do it.
Because unless we unlock the potential of every region and every nation, we will never fix our economy – that’s my fundamental belief.
A belief that grounds my offer of partnership in a driving purpose. That’s what we’ve got to unite our country around.
And look – I don’t want to mess people around either.
I want everyone on board, but we do have to accept the need for a new model.
I’m serious – we’ve got to change how the country grows and who it grows for, got to find the courage to take on vested interests. That lack of will is part of what is holding Britain back.
I met the people running the National Grid recently and they said to me – if we want to get anywhere near our goals on net zero, we need to build more infrastructure in the next seven years than we have in the last 30.
This is the problem. Nothing reeks more of decline than the idea Britain can no longer do big things that benefit working people, I will never accept that.
So if you think it’s not government’s role to shape markets; that we’re only here to serve them.
That a labour market which locks in low pay and productivity is something beyond reform.
Or that the planning system should favour the already wealthy, not the new houses, wind farms, and laboratories we need to create more wealth, then that’s not going to work for us. That’s not going to work for growth, and won’t deliver what our country needs.
We’ve put a lot of work into this and we know: growth is the answer.
Every one of our national missions depend on it.
Safe streets. An NHS fit for the future. Tearing down the barriers to opportunity. A clean energy superpower. All of these are good for growth. But all of them require growth, the lifeblood of a dynamic economy and a strong society.
It’s higher wages, stronger communities, more vibrant high streets, public services that lift you up.
It’s less poverty, more opportunity, warmer homes, healthier food, holidays, meals out, more cash in your pocket, an end to the suffocating cost of living crisis.
And the only chance we have to regain that standing, to get our future back, and give that answer – why not Britain?