Starmer launches manifesto with call to turn the page on 14 years of Tory rule

Starmer launches manifesto with call to turn the page on 14 years of Tory rule

Sir Keir Starmer said voters had the chance to “turn the page decisively” on 14 years of “Conservative chaos” as he set out Labour’s plan for government.

Launching his party’s General Election manifesto, Sir Keir said he had dragged Labour away from the “dead end of gesture politics” and it was now “time to change Britain”.

He said that the UK was “still a great nation”, but it had lacked a “government that can match the ambition working people have”.

Sir Keir Starmer speaking behind a podium with the word 'Change' on it as he delivers a speech at Labour's manifesto launch
Sir Keir Starmer said Labour had produced a ‘manifesto for wealth creation’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The manifesto, launched at an event in Manchester, did not contain any surprise announcements beyond what Sir Keir has already set out.

But instead it is aimed at reassuring voters that Labour can be trusted to grow the economy and “begin the work of national renewal”.

The launch event was interrupted by a climate protester as Sir Keir began his speech, with the demonstrator swiftly removed.

In his foreword to the document, Sir Keir said: “We must turn the page decisively on the Conservative ideas that have caused the chaos.

“The world has become increasingly volatile, with a major war in Europe for the first time in a generation and ever greater threats to the living standards of working people.

“This ‘age of insecurity’ requires the government to step up, not stand aside.”

Sir Keir said Labour’s task “will not be easy”.

“Not only because there is no quick fix to the mess the Conservatives have made. But also, because their failures have sapped our collective confidence that Britain can still achieve great things.”

General Election campaign 2024
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party’s manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir rejected that defeatism, saying: “We are still a great nation. We can still achieve great things. What we lack as a government that can match the ambition working people have for their family and community, with a credible long-term plan.”

The Labour leader, who took over from Jeremy Corbyn following the 2019 electoral mauling the party suffered, said: “The defining purpose of my Labour leadership has been to drag my party away from the dead end of gesture politics and return it once more to the service of working people.

“I have changed my party. Now I want the chance to bring that change to the country.”

In his launch speech, Sir Keir said Labour had produced a “manifesto for wealth creation, a plan to change Britain”, adding: “Today we can lay a new foundation of stability and on that foundation we can start to rebuild Britain.”

PA Graphic showing a timeline of key dates from June 13 until the state opening of Parliament on July 17
(PA Graphics)

The manifesto:

– Spells out Labour’s plans to raise £7 billion in taxes.

– Some £5.2 billion would come from closing loopholes for non-domiciled people and cracking down on tax avoidance schemes.

– £1.5 billion would come from imposing VAT and business rates on private schools, with the rest from closing a carried interest loophole and increasing stamp duty on purchases of residential property by non-UK residents by 1%.

– Confirmed Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance and to cap corporation tax at its current 25% rate.

– Promised legislation to remove the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords and confirmed plans to enforce retirement from the upper chamber at 80.

– Pledged to build 1.5 million new homes and reform the planning system which acts as a “major brake on economic growth”.

– Restated Labour’s plan to create state-owned clean energy generation firm Great British Energy, backed by £8.3 billion over the course of the parliament.

Sir Keir admitted that challenges faced by Britain would not “disappear overnight” under a Labour government.

Highlighting issues including problems getting on the property ladder and tooth decay among children, he said: “We don’t have a magic wand.

“But what we do have, what this manifesto represents, is a credible long-term plan.

“A plan built on a stable foundation with clear first steps.”