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Labour refuses to commit to £28 billion climate crisis pledge, with party citing 'fiscal rules'
2 February 2024, 12:30 | Updated: 2 February 2024, 12:31
Labour has refused to commit to its previous plegde of spending £28 billion a year to tackle the climate crisis and is instead emphasising how all policies have to be in line with its "fiscal rules".
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In 2021, Labour announced it would spend £28 billion a year to tackle the climate crisis - if it gets into power.
However, the Shadow Chancellor has now refused to commit and instead insists there will be an update after the Budget.
At the party's business conference, Rachel Reeves said: "All policies have to be consistent with our fiscal rules", but did not mention the £28 billion the party has pledged.
Sources are now saying that Labour will retain their core mission of investing in green infrastructure, as well as the creation of GB energy, and a mass home insulation programme.
However, Labour will cut its green ambitions by about two-thirds - with previously announced schemes set to cost just under £10 billion a year by the end of parliament, as reported by The Guardian.
Asked 10 times during an interview with Sky News, Ms Reeves said: "I think what people need to know is that the fiscal rules are the most important thing for me … I know the importance of economic and fiscal stability and that will always come first."
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones says their green ambition remains the same.
Mr Jones said: "Economic discipline is at the heart of everything Labour will do
"We have ambitions to invest in the industries of the future to secure our energy.
'Where does this end?' Nick challenges Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
But this will only happen on a "case by case basis", according to the MP.
Also speaking to Nick, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that they will hit £28 billion by the second half of parliament, but that it's subject to the money "the government's already put in".
Sir Starmer also mentioned Labour's fiscal rules, one of which is "that debt has to be falling as a percentage of our economy.
Challenging the Labour leader, Nick called it a "gold-plated ambition".
Keir Starmer downgrades his £28 billion green growth 'pledge'
Ed Miliband, the shadow net zero secretary and his team will argue strongly for the 2021 promise for both environmental and political reasons but have signed up for decreasing the cost and will stick to the already announced schemes - according to senior Labour sources.
According to polling released on Thursday by More in Common, the £28 billion pledge is the second most popular among those planning to vote Labour.
79% of the 3,000-plus panel said the next government should increase investment to tackle the climate crisis, with two-thirds saying this should be Labour's priority.