Shadow chancellor announces £8bn green fund after Starmer promises to support homeownership

Senior Labour figures set out their plans for large-scale investment in green infrastructure this week as the party sought to cement its position as a government-in-waiting.

The opposition’s four-day conference in Liverpool could hardly have come at a better time, as markets went into a tailspin on the back of the chancellor’s announcement of a huge packet of tax cuts.


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Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and Labour party leader Keir Starmer

A YouGov poll released this week showed Labour 17 points ahead of the Tories as it laid out its plans for governing.

The headline policy announcement came in Keir Starmer’s speech, with the party leader promising to create a publicly-owned company to fund green energy projects within his first year in office.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves echoed Starmer’s commitment to turn the UK into a “green growth superpower” as she revealed proposals for an £8bn national wealth fund to invest in green initiatives.

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Her plan would see the state retain a share in the renewable assets in which it invests, with the hope that the capital provided would attract further private investment.

Roughly £2bn would be spent on eight gigafactories across England, £3bn would be spent on “clean steel” plants in Cardiff, Rotherham, Sheffield, Port Talbot and Scunthorpe, while another £1bn would help set up net-zero industrial clusters in Grangemouth, south Wales, Humber and Teesside, Merseyside, Southampton and the Peak District.

This year’s Labour conference also saw several infrastructure-related policy motions passed, including one advocating for public ownership of rail services and the delivery of the eastern leg of HS2 and large parts of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The motion, moved by the train drivers’ union Aslef and backed by transport union TSSA, said the profit motive in rail had led to short-termism and under-investment, citing the cancelled projects.

A separate motion backed the creation of an independent national skills taskforce to forecast supply and demand for skills investment and make recommendations as well as an overhaul of the apprenticeship levy to make it more flexible and targeted.

The party is not bound by conference motions such as these. The national policy forum and “clause five” meeting before a general election will decide which parts of the party programme will be included in a manifesto.

As well as significant investments in infrastructure, Starmer announced his intention to make Labour the “party of homeownership in Britain”, targeting 70% home ownership and promising a new mortgage guarantee scheme to achieve it.

In his centrepiece conference address he also pledged to reform the planning system “so speculators can’t stop communities getting shovels in the ground”.

Shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy promised to restore social housing as the second largest form of tenure and rebalance the housing market towards first-time buyers.

The Conservative Party conference starts in Birmingham on Sunday.