Starmer unveils Labour's manifesto as he seeks to change economic landscape

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party's manifesto is 'a plan to change Britain', with the ambition to 'lay a new foundation of stability'

Sir Keir Starmer has unveiled Labour's General Election manifesto as he seeks to change the economic landscape of the country.

Speaking from Manchester on Thursday, Starmer said the party will "turn the page decisively” on 14 years of “Conservative chaos” as he set out Labour’s plan for government.

The party will put a heavy focus on "wealth creation" if it wins in the General Election on July 4, Starmer said.

Other promises include:

  • Cutting NHS waiting lists with 40,000 new appointments per week

  • Setting up a Border Security Command

  • Establishing GB Energy – a new state-owned body investing in clean power

  • Building new infrastructure and 1.5 million new homes

  • Cracking down on anti-social behaviour and hiring 6,500 teachers

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills analyses the economic policies unveiled by Sir Keir Starmer

Starmer added: “Today we can lay a new foundation of stability and on that foundation we can start to rebuild Britain.”

The launch was interrupted after Starmer was heckled by a climate protester in the crowd, who was swiftly escorted out.

In response, the Labour leader said: "We gave up of being a party of protest five years ago, we want to be a party of power. That's not in the script, but that is part of the change."

Starmer's announcement came after speeches by Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner, Iceland CEO Richard Walker, and three Labour voters who spoke about their struggles with housing, the NHS, and being a young person in Britain.

Labour has consistently led the polls over the past three weeks of the campaign, putting it around 20 points ahead of the Tories.

Polling also showed Starmer came out on top in the latest election broadcast event opposite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday night.

Around 64% of those polled said Sir Keir was the better performer, ahead of Mr Sunak who had the approval of 36% of 1,864 respondents.

After Labour's manifesto launch, Sunak tweeted that the document “confirmed” it would bring in the highest taxes in history.

"If you think they’ll win, start saving," he added.

Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said Labour's manifesto promises a "dizzying number of reviews and strategies" that will "require putting actual resources on the table."

"The public service spending increases promised in the costings table are tiny, going on trivial. The tax rises, beyond the inevitable reduced tax avoidance, even more trivial."

Mr Johnson said with Labour borrowing an extra £17.5 billion over five years to fund the green prosperity plan, there is "literally no room for any more spending than planned by the current government."

"The focus on economic growth and stability is, in this context, welcome," he said."But the growth would take time to arrive, and its scale is uncertain. The difficult choices for the coming Parliament will still be there."

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston sat down with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to discuss his party's manifesto

'There is no quick fix to the mess the Conservatives have made'

Launching his party’s manifesto, Starmer said he had dragged Labour away from the “dead end of gesture politics” and admitted that - if elected - the party'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."

But, he 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 heckler interrupted the beginning of Starmer's manifesto launch. Credit: PA

'Not a circus director'

In a Q&A with media, it was put to the Labour leader that Sunak had thrown “the kitchen sink” at the Tory manifesto while he “won’t even take the safety catch” off Labour’s.

Asked whether it was a “Captain Caution manifesto designed to protect your poll lead” he said: “No. It is a serious plan for the future of our country.

"Every single policy in this document, policy after policy after policy has been carefully thought through and tested to ensure we can deliver it.

"This is a serious plan, carefully thought through, it's not about rabbits out of a hat, it's not about pantomime, we've had that.

"I'm running as a candidate for prime minister, not a candidate to run the circus."

'No surprise' tax pledges

Labour has promised to raise £7 billion in taxes by closing the non-dom loophole, cracking down on tax avoidance, and increasing VAT and business rates on private schools.

The party also pledged to cap corporation tax at its current rate of 25% to give businesses long-term certainty and closing “loopholes” in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

The opposition leader has repeatedly said there will be "no surprises" on tax, and the manifesto reflects this: Labour has pledged not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance.

Speaking during the leader's event on Wednesday night, Starmer said he doesn't want to raise tax because he thinks "people are taxed too much already."

"What I want to do, my central mission is to grow the economy," he added.

The Conservatives have repeatedly claimed Labour will still raise taxes by £2,000 per working household, if the party is elected.

This is despite numerous leading economists saying the calculations have not been independently verified and the Treasury's own top civil servant casting doubt on the claim.

The UK's official statistics regulator investigated the claim and said the public have "no way of knowing" the truth about the claim and how it was produced.

It has since descended into a bitter row, with Labour vehemently refuting the tax claim and accusing the Tories of being "liars".

Subscribe free to our Election Briefing newsletter here for exclusive and original campaign coverage from ITV News. Direct to your inbox at 5pm every weekday


Labour has pledged to “get the NHS back on its feet” through cutting waiting times, creating thousands of extra appointments and reforming dentistry.

In its manifesto, the party said: “We have saved the NHS before, and the next Labour government will do so again”.

It pledged 40,000 more appointments each week, during evenings and weekends, paid for by “cracking down on tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes”, as well as a return to meeting NHS targets, with patients waiting no longer than 18 weeks from referral for consultant-led treatment.

The pledge comes as new NHS statistics published on Thursday morning reveal that the waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has risen for the first time in seven months.

It is estimated that 7.57 million treatments were waiting to be carried out at the end of April, relating to 6.33 million patients.

That is slightly up from 7.54 million treatments and 6.29 million patients at the end of March, NHS England said.

The Labour Party's manifesto during the launch event at Co-op HQ in Manchester. Credit: PA

New Border Security Command

Labour will create a new Border Security Command to tackle people-smuggling gangs bringing migrants across the Channel, the manifesto says.

The party plans to hire hundreds of new investigators, intelligence officers, and cross-border police officers as part of the "elite" unit, which will be part-funded by scrapping the Tories' Rwanda deportation scheme.

The party is also looking to seek a "new security agreement with the EU", set up a new returns and enforcement unit, with an additional 1,000 staff, to fast-track removals, and reform the points-based immigration system.

Have you heard our podcast Talking Politics? Every day in the run-up to the election Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…