Hunt accuses Starmer of 'economic illteracy' over Labour's green plan

Jeremy Hunt accuses Keir Starmer of ‘economic illiteracy’ over Labour’s £28 billion green policies plan

  • Jeremy Hunt has said that Labour’s plans for green investment ‘don’t add up’
  • Labour is promising a massive green investment drive if elected 

Sir Keir Starmer was last night accused of ‘economic illiteracy’ after he vowed to press ahead with investing £28billion a year on green policies.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Labour leader’s figures ‘simply don’t add up’ as Sir Keir pledged to get reduce government debt while borrowing the vast sum.

In a major speech on growing the economy yesterday, Sir Keir said his party would be ‘ruthless’ in spending public money ‘wisely’.

And he insisted that Labour’s pledge to spend £28billion a year on green initiatives, such as investing in clean energy, would be subject to the party’s ‘fiscal rules’.

But Mr Hunt said: ‘It is economically illiterate to say you can meet a fiscal rule to get debt falling whilst at the same time increasing borrowing by £28billion a year. The sums simply don’t add up.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Labour leader’s figures ‘simply don’t add up’ as Labour promises that it will invest billions 

Sir Keir has accused the government of a ‘fiscal sleight of hand’ and of being prepared to ‘salt the earth of British prosperity’ 

‘The result of that kind of borrowing splurge would be higher taxes, higher debt interest and lower growth – on the very day Sir Keir Starmer said growth would be his ‘obsession’.’

In 2021, Labour promised to invest £28billion a year until 2030 on green projects if it came to power.

However, in June shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the figure would instead be a target to work towards in the second half of a first Parliament under a Labour government.

Yesterday, Sir Keir said that the money ‘will be used to trigger that other investment from the private sector and we’ll ramp up – it’s not a question of the investment not starting until the middle of the next Parliament’.

‘It is, of course, subject to our fiscal rules. But I am confident that if we turbocharge the growth that we need, we’ll be able to achieve the investment we need within the fiscal rules.’

He also told a Resolution Foundation conference in London that a Labour administration will not be able to ‘turn on the spending taps’.

The speech came after Mr Hunt used his autumn statement to pencil in difficult cuts to public services in the years beyond 2024.

Sir Keir accused ministers of a ‘fiscal sleight of hand’, which ‘showed the Government is quite prepared to salt the earth of British prosperity, in pursuit of its political strategy’.

But he did not rule out cuts under a Labour government, and instead pointed to reform through the better use of technologies such as artificial intelligence.

He said: ‘We need to reform, we need to grow our economy. But the record of a Labour government is always to look after our public services.’

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