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  • Writer's pictureEastern Powerhouse

Labour’s Manifesto offers a growth vision for the UK, but will this mean CHANGE for the East of England?

Sir Keir Starmer launched the Labour Manifesto earlier today, which has a strong focus on economic growth, wealth creation, and building back communities across the UK. Many of Labour’s national policies chime with what the Eastern Powerhouse has called for in our Manifesto for the East, with a number of commitments to ensure that national bodies will be more representative of England’s regions.


The East of England is not mentioned, unlike other regions and nations in the UK, although there are commitments to stronger and wider devolution in England with powers to drive local economic growth working with a national industrial strategy, integrated settlements for Mayoral Combined Authorities, and a new statutory requirement for Local Growth Plans that cover towns and cities across the country.


James Palmer, Chair of the Eastern Powerhouse said,


“The lack of recognition for the East in the manifestos from the two main parties shows more than ever why the East needs an Eastern Powerhouse to provide a voice for the region. We will continue to put the case for investment in our region with whoever forms the next government.”


The central mission for Labour’s manifesto is to ‘kick start economic growth’ and 'wealth creation'. Labour vows it will be 'pro-business' and will form an enduring partnership with business to deliver growth. This has to be welcomed in all parts of the country. Specific policies include reform of the planning system, which is acting as a drag on growth, and removing barriers to businesses trading, with a competition and regulatory framework, that supports innovation, investment, and high-quality jobs.


The National Wealth Fund is a flagship policy, to be capitalised with £7.3 billion over the course of the next Parliament, with a target of attracting three pounds of private investment for every one pound of public investment, to create jobs across every part of the country. This will allocate:


  • £1.8 billion to upgrade ports and build supply chains across the UK

  • £1.5 billion to new gigafactories, vital to the EV automotive industry leads the world

  • £1 billion to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture

  • £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen.


These are vital investments which can directly boost business interests in the East.

Steven Lynch MBE, Executive Director of the Eastern Powerhouse, said:


“Labour’s manifesto makes a strong statement for growth in the UK; a National Wealth Fund, planning reforms, a new industrial strategy with clean energy at its centre. This all sounds incredibly exciting and it is desperately needed. However, it’s less clear, at this stage, how all of this will actually be achieved, and what it might mean for the East of England.”


The Eastern Powerhouse welcomes Labour’s commitments to:


  • An Enhanced devolution framework - Labour has reaffirmed commitments to devolution, placing greater emphasis on combined authorities, city regions and local mayoral control. Labour have committed to place-specific polices, tailoring government support towards economic clusters.

  • Transportation - Labour have focused on modernising the UK transport infrastructure and will overhaul Britain’s railways network and speed up long-promised road improvements. Connectivity is the biggest issue in the East, we welcome the attention on transport infrastructure and the desperately needed upgrade to a modern transport network.

  • Housing - Labour have committed to 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament.

  • Water - The Labour manifesto has identified water as a crucial foundation for infrastructure development, to which we welcome Labour’s ambitions to forge ahead with reservoir development. This is critical in the East, in which our reservoirs can now be considered as nationally significant infrastructure projects that must be accelerated.

  • Planning system - Labour will immediately update the National Policy Planning Framework. Restoring mandatory housing targets, allowing regional authorities to create localised Plans and support local authorities by funding additional planning officers.

  • Education and Skills - We welcome the commitment to “a comprehensive strategy for post-16 education”, as there is growing consensus amongst FE and HE sector bodies that we need a whole-system approach to change, rather than piecemeal initiatives.

Laraine Moody, Group Principal ‑ University and Professional Development, Eastern Education Group commented:

"We know that education plays a critical role in supporting the growth of local businesses, which is why many of the Eastern Education Group's strategic priorities are rooted in developing future workforces and working with employers to deliver the skills they need.We hope that the next government's vision will extend beyond the work we're already doing and allow us to build on the pillars we've put into place in the East, so that we can continue to nurture the workforce of the future and strengthen local economies during a time when it's more important than ever."


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