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by Louise Wilson
08 February 2024
‘Scotland will suffer’ from Labour green investment U-turn, says First Minister Humza Yousaf

Labour is ditching its pledge to spend £28bn per year on its green economy plan | Alamy

‘Scotland will suffer’ from Labour green investment U-turn, says First Minister Humza Yousaf

Labour is ditching its pledge to spend £28bn per year on its green economy plan, in a move described by First Minister Humza Yousaf as “another screeching U-turn”.

The pledge was made more than two years ago but has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks as several senior figures in the party refused to commit to the investment.

An official announcement is expected today, with the party to argue that while it still backs its Green Prosperity Plan, the cash commitment will depend on the economic backdrop.

Responding to the news, the first minister tweeted: “On the day it's confirmed global warming has, for the first time, exceeded 1.5C across an entire year, Starmer is ditching his pledge to invest £28bn a year in green energy. With our abundant renewable resources, Scotland will suffer because of another screeching Labour U-turn.”

As well as the creation of a GB-wide publicly owned energy company, the plan also covers areas like home insulation, electric vehicles and infrastructure investment.

The announcement comes as Labour moves to finalise its draft manifesto ahead of the general election later this year. Shadow cabinet members were asked to submit proposals by today.

The Scottish Greens have said the U-turn is a “catastrophic mistake”.

Co-leader Lorna Slater said: “At a stroke Keir Starmer has thrown future generations under a diesel engine bus and shredded any commitment his party had towards building a greener economy and supporting a just transition.

“It is clear they cannot be trusted to take the tough decisions that are needed to ensure a liveable planet, when they are ditching all kinds of previous policies at a rate of knots.”

Last summer, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves watered down the £28bn pledge, saying that “financial stability has to come first”.

That follows concern within the party that the pledge would not be affordable and that the electorate would view the pledge as reckless in the current fiscal climate.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said the decision would “destroy Scottish jobs, harm economic growth and hit families in the pocket”.

He added: “The UK economy is broken and Starmer’s latest U-turn is symptomatic of a bigger problem. By signing up to Brexit and Tory fiscal rules, Starmer is setting the UK on the path to another decade of poor growth and harmful cuts to public services.”

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