Starmer backs roads and houses to 'get Britain building again'


Labour leader Keir Starmer has pledged to 'get Britain building again' by supporting new roads and infrastructure through planning sector reforms.

In a central element of his party conference speech, Mr Starmer announced plans 'to build one and a half million new homes across the country,' as well as new supporting infrastructure including 'roads, tunnels, power stations – built quicker and cheaper'.

He went on to criticise the 'restrictive planning system' that he said 'stops this country building roads, grid connections, laboratories, train lines, warehouses, windfarms, power stations'.

Sir Keir, who is favourite to win the next election, according to polls, also announced plans to establish 'new development corporations with the power to remove the blockages'.

Sir Keir and Lady Victoria Starmer at the conference

'Today we launch a new plan to get Britain building again. A signal of our determination to fight the blockers who hold a veto over British aspiration,' he said.

'No more land-bankers sitting comfortably on brownfield sites while rents in their community rise. No more councils refusing to develop a local plan because they prefer the back-door deals.

'No more inertia in the face of resistance – and there will be resistance from people who say – no, we don’t want Britain’s future here.

'My message to them is this. A future must be built. That is the responsibility of a serious government. And if we continually wash our hands of this task – we all end up stuck in a rut. Just like now.'

As part of his wider industrial policy., Mr Starmer pledged:

  • 'Step one. Our national wealth fund. Standing with business. Ready to invest in the critical infrastructure we need. The battery gigafactories, the clean British steel, the ports that can finally handle large industrial parts. More growth, more demand, more jobs.
  • 'Step two. Long-term stability for researchers, investors, innovators. A real boost for life sciences and the automotive industry. And a British jobs bonus that will attract new investment to our industrial heartlands from Bridgend to Burnley. The backbone of Britain, once again powering us towards national renewal.
  • 'Step three. A new direction for skills. Because a future must be trained as well as built. And the generation that sacrificed so much during the pandemic – their potential must be backed.'

He also committed to setting up a new generation of Technical Excellence Colleges, 'with stronger links to their local economies'.

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