Labour’s links with the Union movement have hit the skids again under Starmer’s leadership.
This morning the Trade Union Congress called for public ownership of energy companies, only for Labour to appear less than enthusiastic about the idea only an hour later.
The TUC tweeted: “The energy cap is expected to increase to £3,200, up over 150% in just a year. Public ownership would:
Speed up energy efficiency improvements to homes
Cut carbon emissions faster”
“The TUC’s Affordable Energy Plan would keep bills down by
Ending shareholder dividends, making more money available to cut bills
Unlocking incentives to make homes energy efficient
Enabling pricing structures with much lower costs for basic energy needs”
“Taking the Big Five energy retail firms into public ownership would cost just £2.85 billion. Since June 2021, the UK government has spent £2.7 billion bailing out 28 energy companies that collapsed. It’s time to lift the burden of failed privatisation off families.”
Sir Keir Starmer has said he is “pragmatic” about the question of public ownership of rail, energy and water companies, insisting his focus is on economic growth rather than ideology.
This tweet from 2021 might come back to haunt him…
The Labour leader used a speech in Liverpool on Monday to say the priority for the next Labour government would be to “reboot” the economy with a focus on “growth, growth, growth”.
He was challenged about his view on nationalising utilities after shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves earlier said the policy was not compatible with the party’s new “fiscal rules” to control public spending.
Sir Keir told reporters: “I take a pragmatic approach rather than an ideological one, I agree with what Rachel Reeves said this morning.
“Having come through the pandemic, it’s very important we have very, very clear priorities and that’s why we’ve set out fiscal rules already as an Opposition.”
He added that “the mission of the next Labour government will be growth”.
“My approach here is pragmatic, not ideological. My mission is growth and underpinning that mission is a partnership arrangement with business, where the mission is set by an incoming Labour government and we empower business to work with us in delivering on that mission.”
Pressed on whether he still intended to take railways back into public ownership, Sir Keir said: “I think what some of our mayors and metro mayors are doing with public transport is the right way forward – absolutely focused on keeping the price down and making sure there’s control over where things go.
“I absolutely understand the frustrations of everybody trying to use the rail service”.
Ms Reeves earlier said commitments by Labour to nationalise rail, energy or water were part of a manifesto in 2019 that “secured our worst results since 1935” and had been “scrapped”.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Within our fiscal rules, to be spending billions of pounds on nationalising things, that just doesn’t stack up against our fiscal rules.”