Labour pledges: Keir Starmer launches six 'steps for change' ahead of general election

Keir Starmer is launching Labour’s six pledges for change - not to be confused with the party’s five missions for power or election manifesto.

Keir Starmer will today launch Labour’s six pledges “for change” ahead of the general election.

The Labour leader and the Shadow Cabinet are congregating in Essex to announce “Labour’s doorstep offer to the British people”. Before the event, Starmer said: “What is crucial about these commitments is that they are part of a long-term plan to get Britain back on its feet.” 

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“Each of the first steps would chime with voters’ aspirations, show a clear set of priorities and a powerful direction of travel.” To go along with this, the party will be handing out pledge cards to voters.

Importantly, these are different from Labour’s five missions for power (which Starmer revealed last year) and the election manifesto, which has not been put together yet. So what are they? Here’s everything you need to know.

What are Labour’s six pledges?

The six pledges that Starmer is unveiling today are as follows:

  • Deliver economic stability with tough spending rules, so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible.
  • Cut NHS waiting times with 40,000 more appointments each week, during evenings and weekends, paid for by cracking down on tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes.
  • Launch a new Border Security Command with hundreds of new specialist investigators and use counter-terror powers to smash the criminal boat gangs.
  • Set up Great British Energy a publicly-owned clean power company, to cut bills for good and boost energy security, paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants.
  • Crack down on antisocial behaviour with more neighbourhood police paid for by ending wasteful contracts, tough new penalties for offenders, and a new network of youth hubs.
  • Recruit 6,500 new teachers in key subjects to prepare children for life, work and the future, paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools.

Labour have also created this handy graphic with Starmer looking very serious, sleeves rolled up, to highlight the six pledges. This will be dolled out to voters over the coming weeks.

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Labour's pledge card. Credit: Labour PartyLabour's pledge card. Credit: Labour Party
Labour's pledge card. Credit: Labour Party

What has Keir Starmer said?

Keir Starmer has claimed that each of these steps will mark “serious change, not a sticking plaster solution”. He said they are “gimmick free, fully costed and funded and make a difference to the lives of working people”.

“People want someone to get a grip – get things done and start to get Britain back on its feet. That is what our first steps are about,” he explained.

“These first steps make real our claim that a changed Labour Party is back in service of working people. They show our priorities, what we care about and what the British public cares about. Country first, party second.

"These first steps will make a real difference to people's lives. If you're waiting in pain for NHS treatment, if your child is at school and you want higher standards, if your local area is plagued by anti-social behaviour, if you want cheaper energy bills for good, these first steps show what a Labour Government will do to help you."

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How is the pledge card different from Labour’s manifesto?

Feel like you have heard this before? Well that’s because last year, Starmer launched Labour’s five “missions for power”. At the time, he said: “Britain needs a mission-driven government to end short term sticking-plaster politics.” Starmer clearly has it in for sticking plasters.

The missions tended to be broader and included “break down barriers to opportunity” and “get Britain building again”. However, some are remarkably similar to the pledges. One mission is “switch on Great British Energy”, while the pledge is to “set up Great British Energy”.

The mission to “take back our streets” included a guarantee of town centre police patrols in every community, while the pledge is to “crack down on antisocial behaviour with more neighbourhood police”.

Labour says that the pledges are different from the missions, and then both are separate to the general election manifesto which is coming later in this year. Have you got that? Starmer clearly wanted to do his own relaunch, after all of Rishi Sunak’s speeches this year - however it does risk becoming slightly confusing for voters.

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Remember the EdStone

Conservatives have been quick to compare the six pledges to former Labour leader Ed Miliband’s infamous “EdStone”. During the 2015 general election, Miliband got the party’s six promises carved into a giant 2.6m tablet. Some were quite similar to Starmer’s including “a strong economic foundation” and “an NHS with time to care”.

The current Shadow Climate Change Secretary said he would keep the stone in the Downing Street rose garden, however it was greeted with almost universal ridicule. Boris Johnson described it as "some weird commie slab" and Labour MP Michael Dugher said it was a “marble cock-up”. Miliband lost the election and was forced to resign.

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