SIR Keir Starmer’s pledge to spend £28billion each year on green projects has been scaled back to just just £5billion a year in his biggest u-turn yet.
The Labour boss is officially abandoning the eye-watering figure following relentless Tory attacks – but admitted the remainder of the clean energy proposals would now be partly funded by a tax rise.
Labour’s manifesto will now pledge to spend an extra £23.7 billion over five years on green plans.
£12.9 billion will be borrowed with £10.8 billion coming from expanding the Windfall Tax on energy firms profits until the end of the decade and hiking it to 78 per cent.
But Labour denied in December that they were eyeing the tax raid.
The money will be spent setting up a new clean GB Energy firm with £8.3 billion start up cost.
£7.3 billion will be spent on a new National Wealth Fund to invest in green projects – with hopes the private sector would match those funds with four pounds to everyone the taxpayer invests.
Expensive plans to insulate 19 million homes over ten years have been scaled back to just five million over the next five years.
But the Tories say the cost of getting the nation fully powered by green energy by 2030 far outweighs what Labour set out today.
The climbdown comes after weeks of chaos over the plan since The Sun first revealed the intention to drop the £28billion figure last month.
On Thursday the pair played down a rift – insisting they are in “lockstep”.
And only yesterday Labour shadow ministers and spokespeople insisted the Green Prosperity Plan remained their policy.
The mission to reach clean power by 2030 will remain, just without the enormous price tag.
Yet on Monday Sir Keir said the £28 billion extra was “desperately needed” to hit the 2030 target.
Ms Reeves first made the pledge to invest in low-carbon infrastructure at the party’s 2021 conference with a borrowing hike.
She had already downgraded the pledge to “ramp up” to the spending ambition in the second half of a first Labour government .
Today Tory MPs accused the party leader of another “flip-flop” which has become a regular attack line.
Rishi Sunak hit out: “Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he doesn’t have a plan for Britain. The uncertainty about what a Labour government would do is a real risk to our country’s future.
“Labour’s pledge – in their own words – has a £28 billion price tag and now they have admitted there is no plan to pay for it. This will mean higher taxes for working people to fill Labour’s black hole.
“That’s why the choice this year is to stick with our plan that’s working, or go back to square one with Labour which would put our country’s future at risk.”
Even Labour MPs put the boot into the u-turn, with Barry Gardiner calling it “economically illiterate”.
The Sun first revealed in January that Sir Keir would ditch the £28billion following a row with shadow climate minister Ed Miliband.
A senior source had said: “We’re going to drop the figure altogether. We’ll keep the promise to turn Britain into a clean energy superpower, but the £28billion has just become an albatross around our neck.”
Green u-turn a bruising episode for Labour
By JACK ELSOM, Chief Political Correspondent
WHEN The Sun revealed last month that Sir Keir Starmer was going to abandon his flagship pledge to spend £28billion on green policies, all hell broke loose.
High-level talks within Labour had concluded the figure had become “an albatross around our necks”.
Dropping it would be a painful – but necessary – move to blunt relentless Tory claims of a cynical tax-grabbing plot to make the sums add up.
With shadow ministers in furious disbelief at the impending u-turn, Labour apparatchiks were sent out to rubbish our story as “complete nonsense”.
But slowly and surely, over the next few days the position shifted and party frontbenchers were starting to flail when grilled on the airwaves.
It came to a crux when the Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves refused 10 times on Sky News to even say the £28billion pledge.
The next day her deputy Darren Jones confirmed the number was no longer set in stone, and the pledge was all-but presumed dead.
The final nail in the coffin was expected to come after the Budget, when Starmer and Reeves could blame Tory policies on their decision to reluctantly scale back their ambitions.
But Starmer himself then resurrected the £28billion in an interview on Times Radio saying it was “still desperately needed”. Had the plan been spared the noose at the final moment?
Only yesterday lunchtime Labour spokespeople were confidently telling journalists the £28billion figure remained.
Yet it transpired to be a disasterclass in political communications rather than a sudden change of heart.
The plan is being junked, and this bruising episode for Labour asks serious questions of Starmer’s leadership.
Had he ripped off the plaster early, he might have neutralised Conservative attacks on the plan and weathered a brief row over flip-flopping.
But the chaos and mixed messaging of the past few weeks leaves him in the worst of all worlds.