Labour would run ‘patriotic economy’, Starmer to say on West Midlands visit

Sir Keir Starmer will talk up Labour’s housing pledges on a visit to the West Midlands, promising it would deliver a “future built in Britain, by Britain, for Britain” if it wins power.

The party leader is expected to say he would run a “patriotic economy” including through plans to boost homeownership and establish the “next generation” of new towns.

Sir Keir will be joined by deputy leader Angela Rayner on a trip to a housing development, where he will argue the “core British value of working hard and getting on has been corroded” after 14 years of Tory government.

Ahead of the visit, he said: “Britain’s workers and Britain’s interests have been failed. Living standards have plummeted, as has the traditional British belief that if you work hard, it pays. For too many people a higher wage is beyond reach and buying a home has become a fantasy.

“My mum and dad enjoyed the stability of a home they owned and a faith that their kids would have more opportunity than they did. It wasn’t just them, its engrained in the British psyche – you work hard, you can get on. Work will pay. Life will give you chances.

“The Conservative Party’s economic choices run completely against those values. Meanwhile, their promises on levelling up are empty. The Tories aren’t just betting the house, they’re betting yours.

“It’s time for change. My Labour government will be different. We’ll run a patriotic economy where Britain’s interest is centre stage and Britain’s hardworking families reap the rewards.”

Construction site
Sir Keir will set out how he hopes Labour’s housing policies will help to ‘reverse years of Tory economic decline’ (Peter Byrne/PA)

The party’s new framing of its economic vision comes after it faced criticism for abandoning the £28 billion-a-year spending pledge tied to its flagship green prosperity plan.

Environmental groups, trade union allies and energy industry figures expressed disappointment at the U-turn – while the Tories have continued to attack Labour’s fiscal credibility.

Sir Keir has said the decision was about being “straight” with voters on the challenges presented by “the damage the Tories have done” to the economy since the pledge was announced in 2021.

In his visit on Monday, the leader will set out how he hopes Labour’s housing policies will help to “reverse years of Tory economic decline”.

The party has promised to deliver the biggest boost to affordable, social and council housing for a generation by strengthening the rules to prevent developers from “wriggling out” of their planning responsibilities.

Other previously announced pledges include reforming planning laws in a bid to kickstart building on 1.5 million new homes, with the next generation of towns and hundreds of new planners the party says will be funded by raising tax on foreign owners of UK property.

Tory housing minister Lee Rowley branded the announcement “empty” and “proof that Labour have no plan”.

He said: “Labour have no plan for housing and no plan for the economy. Their 2030 decarbonisation promise which they themselves said costs £28 billion would mean back to square one and higher taxes for working people.

“Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will stick to the plan, which is working, delivering the right homes in the right place and rewarding hard work as we did last month by cutting taxes for millions.”