Young people not getting the opportunities they need under Tories, says Starmer

Young people deserve a chance to show what they are capable of, Sir Keir Starmer has said as he pledged to promote talent on a visit to St George’s Park on Monday.

The Labour leader praised The FA’s national football centre in the Staffordshire countryside as the “best of Britain” as he led a meeting with his shadow cabinet in which he shared frustration that talented young people are not “getting the opportunities they need under this Tory government”.

His comments come as Labour committed to halting the decline in children’s access to team sports, saying the next generation of sporting talent could only be developed by “harnessing the strength of England’s national pride”.

During his visit to the home of England’s football teams in Burton-on-Trent ahead of St George’s Day, Sir Keir said his government would invest in young people and “champion success”.

He told his shadow cabinet: “This really is the best of Britain, with world class facilities, with the best coaches, elite training, to raise the next generation and nurture the talent of our national teams at every level.

“And our Labour government will invest in young people, promote talent, and champion success across the nation.

“Tomorrow is St George’s Day, a day to be proud of our country. It’s about serving the country that we love.”

Starmer visit to West Midlands
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) talks to football pundit and former Arsenal player Martin Keown. (Jacob King/PA)

Sir Keir said service is the “mission of our changed Labour Party”, adding: “That core belief that we all have, that the Labour governments have had over the years, that people deserve opportunity and dignity, and young people deserve a chance to show what they’re capable of.

“That brighter future has to be nurtured and invested in and I’m sure you share my frustration that too many talented people aren’t now getting the opportunities that they need, that they deserve under this Tory government, to build a better future for themselves.”

He pledged that the Labour party would “always put people first, service above self-interest, country before party”.

Starmer visit to West Midlands
Sir Keir talks to football pundit and former Arsenal player Martin Keown and England coach Sarina Wiegman (Jacob King/PA)

The Labour leader took a tour around the sports facilities at St George’s Park, which he said were “fantastic”, and met young footballers as they took part in training.

He spoke to the women’s under-17s footballers about their training regime and balancing it with studying, spoke with former footballer and pundit Martin Keown and England Women’s manager Sarina Weigman and met staff on the tour, which took in the gym, boot room and pitches.

Addressing his shadow cabinet, Sir Keir said now is the chance to show the country that they are a “changed Labour party”.

Starmer visit to West Midlands
Sir Keir pledged that Labour would invest in young people, promote talent and champion success across the nation. (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “A party back in the service of ordinary people and there is a clear choice between the spiral of chaos and decline or hope and unity with a changed Labour party.

“More years of sticking plaster politics or a party with a clear plan for higher growth, safer streets cheaper bills, better opportunities and an NHS back on its feet.

“Now that’s the future we want, that’s the country we love. Let’s get it back together.”