The Perfect Enemy | Keir Starmer says he would fix ‘broken’ water and energy markets through regulation not nationalisation – UK politics live
August 11, 2022

Keir Starmer says he would fix ‘broken’ water and energy markets through regulation not nationalisation – UK politics live

Keir Starmer says he would fix ‘broken’ water and energy markets through regulation not nationalisation – UK politics live  The Guardian

Read Time:11 Minute

Keir Starmer has said a Labour government would fix “broken” water and energy markets through regulation before nationalising the railways because of ballooning post-pandemic debt.

The Labour leader distanced himself from his own pledge when he was running for the party’s leadership in 2019 to support “common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”.

He told BBC Breakfast:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} We’ve got to recognise that after the pandemic we’re in a different situation financially to the situation that we were in before, and we want a responsible government that says if we’re going to do something we will tell you how we’re going to pay for it.

The single most important thing is how we grow the economy, re-energise the economy, and that can’t be reduced to a discussion about nationalisation.

Starmer stressed his “pragmatic” approach, saying that for most utilities “the answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership”.

However, he said Labour would stick to plans to nationalise the railways if it won the next election.

The government has blocked any “non-essential” new payments from the overseas aid budget for the rest of the summer over concerns the cost of relief work in Ukraine will breach a spending cap.

The FT reports:

Last year, Boris Johnson’s government cut Britain’s overseas aid budget after the Covid-19 pandemic, “temporarily” ditching a Conservative party manifesto commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product and replacing it with a new 0.5 per cent limit.

Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke last week told the Foreign Office and other departments to suspend “non-essential aid spending” until Johnson’s replacement as prime minister was in post because the new lower limit was about to be breached.

Andrew Mitchell, a former Tory international development secretary, said the move would “undoubtedly cost lives” in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The Treasury decision stunned UK officials working on development projects, who claimed programmes would be halted, dealing a fresh blow to Britain’s claim to be an “aid superpower”.

One British aid official said: “The vast majority of UK development programmes will simply stop. This is truly awful. It will breach contracts, and goes against everything the UK claims to stand for.”

A second Scottish independence referendum is “the wrong priority at the worst possible moment”, Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak has written in a column for the Scottish Daily Mail on Tuesday.

Both he and rival Liz Truss have spoken out against the idea of holding another vote, with Truss stating last week that she would not agree to a request from the Scottish Government under any circumstances.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon last week branded the two hopefuls “hypocrites” in response to their comments.

In his column, Sunak said the United Kingdom is the “most successful political union in history, and has stood the test of time in withstanding some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced”.

He wrote:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Working together and uniting is what made us such a formidable force on the world stage.

Scotland has achieved so much as part of the UK, and the UK has achieved so much because of Scotland. We can build on that success for the future, and I have a plan to do it.

In the same way that the might of our union stepped up to help people in all corners of the UK during the pandemic, it’s going to have to help people through the immediate months and challenges ahead.

I am clear that another referendum is the wrong priority at the worst possible moment.

The SNP are wrong to try and tear the country apart when we should be pulling together. Why aren’t they talking about the drugs crisis in Scotland or how we can get more money into Scottish workers’ pockets?

Just as I want to be more accountable to people in every corner of the United Kingdom, so too does the SNP need to be more accountable for their responsibilities.

The Tory MP added that the UK government cannot “just stop a referendum, we also need to drive down support for independence, too”.

He said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We need to win the argument and show that you can be a patriotic Scot and a proud advocate of our United Kingdom at the same time. One is not exclusive to the other.

To do so, the former chancellor suggested Westminster should put an end to the “devolve and forget mentality” and instead become “the most active UK government since devolution began” by investing more funding directly into local communities.

The polling firm Ipsos has published its index for July, showing that public concern about inflation is mounting, with 45% of respondents citing it as a big issue for the country – the highest score since the early 1980s.

One in three say the economy is a big issue for Britain, up from a quarter at the start of the year.

Worries over a lack of faith in politics and politicians have fallen by ten points this month, with 16% mentioning this as an issue. Ipsos suggests this is likely tied to the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister, since fieldwork was conducted from 6 to 13 July, with Johnson announcing his resignation on the 7th.

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NEW: @IpsosUK Issues Index for July

Concern about inflation climbs again, with 45% mentioning it as a big issue for the country

More here:https://t.co/TOpYDoYXUr pic.twitter.com/gK85lTOzJv

&mdash; Michael Clemence (@mwclemence) July 26, 2022

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NEW: @IpsosUK Issues Index for July

Concern about inflation climbs again, with 45% mentioning it as a big issue for the country

More here:https://t.co/TOpYDoYXUr pic.twitter.com/gK85lTOzJv

— Michael Clemence (@mwclemence) July 26, 2022

Keir Starmer has said a Labour government would fix “broken” water and energy markets through regulation before nationalising the railways because of ballooning post-pandemic debt.

The Labour leader distanced himself from his own pledge when he was running for the party’s leadership in 2019 to support “common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”.

He told BBC Breakfast:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} We’ve got to recognise that after the pandemic we’re in a different situation financially to the situation that we were in before, and we want a responsible government that says if we’re going to do something we will tell you how we’re going to pay for it.

The single most important thing is how we grow the economy, re-energise the economy, and that can’t be reduced to a discussion about nationalisation.

Starmer stressed his “pragmatic” approach, saying that for most utilities “the answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership”.

However, he said Labour would stick to plans to nationalise the railways if it won the next election.

Social care workers need to be “better paid and more highly regarded” rather than earning less than dog walkers, according to the former deputy prime minister Damian Green, writing in a report from by the centre-right thinktank Public Policy Projects (PPP).

Green called for the minimum wage for care workers to be increased in line with NHS pay and said there needed to be a shift in public opinion similar to the boost in status that nurses received following the work of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean war.

Green, who served as deputy prime minister under Theresa May, said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} We need more care workers, we need them to stay longer in their jobs, and we need them to be better paid and more highly regarded.

The report, published by centre-right think tank Public Policy Projects (PPP), comes as the Conservative leadership debate focuses on tax cuts. Leadership candidate Liz Truss has promised to scrap the increase in national insurance brought in to help pay for the NHS and social care.

The Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, who is also PPP’s research director and is backing Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak, said the report “demonstrates comprehensively why the government was right to introduce the health and social care levy last year”.

The Sun’s political editor, Harry Cole, has pulled out of hosting tonight’s The Sun Showdown debate featuring the two Tory leadership hopefuls after a positive Covid test – which he said was the first time he had been struck by the virus.

“Disaster strikes,” he wrote on Twitter, saying he was “gutted to miss it” but that Kate McCann, TalkTV’s political editor, would “ace it”.

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Was incredibly excited for tonight’s @TheSun Showdown but disaster strikes.

Covid finally got me for the first time with spectacularly bad timing.

Gutted to miss it but @KateEMcCann and co will ace it with the brilliant @TalkTV crew

And good luck @RishiSunak and @trussliz

🤒 pic.twitter.com/I9QnTML7hX

&mdash; Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) July 26, 2022

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Was incredibly excited for tonight’s @TheSun Showdown but disaster strikes.

Covid finally got me for the first time with spectacularly bad timing.

Gutted to miss it but @KateEMcCann and co will ace it with the brilliant @TalkTV crew

And good luck @RishiSunak and @trussliz

🤒 pic.twitter.com/I9QnTML7hX

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) July 26, 2022

More from the morning broadcast rounds here:

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury and a supporter of Liz Truss, has said the 7% mortgage interest rates figure brought up in the debate by Rishi Sunak “is not part of Liz Truss’s plans”.

He told Sky News it is not linked to Truss’s tax plans, adding that she does not agree with Sunak that her proposals will result in the base interest rate being pushed up to 7%.

Clarke said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} I think it’s really important to say that two targeted interventions on tax – the first are in terms of reversing the national insurance rise of a few weeks ago, and then cancelling an increase in corporation tax that isn’t even in effect yet, it’s due to come into effect next spring – there’s no evidence I can see that that would be inflationary.

I think it’s instead about supporting jobs and families at a time when we know there is a lot of hardship out there, we know the tax burden is really very high.

He said it is “absolutely critical” that people get behind Truss’s vision for a pro-growth strategy “because that is what the country needs”.

Good morning.

Last night Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clashed in a fierce TV debate over tax cuts, China and inflation.

This morning, politicians have been sharing their views. One of Truss’ supporters, Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News there had been “aggressive moments”, while conceding that the overall tenor had been “respectful”.

He added:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} I think there were some pretty aggressive moments at the outset from Rishi towards Liz in terms of interrupting her as she tried to set out her case, but by and large I think the debate was held in a reasonable spirit reflecting, obviously, the importance of the issues.

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s appraisal to BBC Breakfast was more damning:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I watched as much as I could bear of it, because it showed just the two contenders taking lumps out of each other, talking over each other, talking about clothing and earrings instead of the health service.

So if ever there was an example of a party that is absolutely lost the plot, lost any sense of purpose then it was that debate last night.

Meanwhile, MP David Davis dismissed the suggestion that Rishi Sunak was “mansplaining” to Liz Truss as “spin”. He told Sky News: “Sometimes it’s important to intervene in debates.”

You can read the Guardian’s chief political correspondent Jess Elgot’s full report of the debates here:

Here’s what’s on the agenda for today:

18:00 Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will face questions from Sun readers on the Sun website and TalkTV.

It’s also Truss’s 47th birthday today.

I’ll be keeping you updated for the rest of the morning on all the key events in government. Do get in touch with anything we’ve missed at rachel.hall@theguardian.com.