The most galling aspect of this u-turn is that it was already trailed last week by Labour, only for Sir Keir Starmer to then come out earlier this week and deny that his party would be “scaling back” policy pledges. He even went as far as to say that he was “unwavering” in his commitment to achieving clean power by 2030.
It seems like Labour has been spooked by Treasury figures. But there will be more of this to come ahead of the election.
What this shows is the central weakness in Starmer’s approach. His party will have to concede at some point that public spending is going to have to increase and funding it will require either tax increases or money being found elsewhere.
Labour cannot afford to row back on every promise. Voters are already asking what the difference is going to be after the next general election aside from the colour of the rosette.
What the public certainly won’t stand for is Labour pontificating for years on issues such as climate change, only to offer no alternative.
Businesses have been crying out for certainty. Many will have looked at Starmer’s Labour as the next government in waiting and viewed the green investment policy as an opportunity to plot a roadmap for the future. This undermines trust in the Opposition amongst business leaders.
Rowing back on green investment promises is also economically illiterate. Not only would it leave job opportunities on the table but the failure to tackle climate change also comes with an economic cost, with the impact of extreme weather driven by climate change being felt here on these shores.