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Starmer: Prime Minister is the destroyer of growth

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it is Liz Truss’s actions that are harming growth (PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it is Liz Truss’s actions that are harming growth (PA)

Sir Keir Starmer branded Liz Truss the “destroyer of growth” as he baulked at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that Labour is part of an “anti-growth coalition”.

The Labour leader said mortgages are rising as a “direct result” of the Government’s “kamikaze” mini-budget last month.

Analysis by the Labour Party suggests an average UK buyer coming off a two-year fixed mortgage could experience a £498 monthly hike if interest rates hit 6%.

Both parties have said they want to see economic growth, with Ms Truss questioning Labour’s intentions and Sir Keir questioning the Conservative’s results.

Tory party chairman Jake Berry said the UK faces a “difficult winter” but he believes “people will start to see next year that our growth plan is turning the country around”.

Liz Truss
Prime Minister Liz Truss was accused by Sir Keir Starmer of being ‘the destroyer of growth’ (PA)

During a round of interviews on regional BBC radio stations, Sir Keir responded to Ms Truss’s suggestion in her conference speech on Wednesday that Labour is part of an “anti-growth coalition” who are the “enemies of enterprise”.

BBC Radio Sheffield put the suggestion to Sir Keir that his party are the “enemies of growth”.

The Labour leader replied: “For heaven’s sake. The enemies of growth?

“She’s just passed a kamikaze mini-budget which has lost control of the economy, is putting hundreds of pounds on people’s mortgage bills, that is the absolute opposite of a plan for growth.

“She’s… not just anti-growth, she’s the destroyer of growth.”

The mini-budget was “about as anti-growth as you could possibly be”, Sir Keir told BBC Radio Manchester.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, he said any plan for growth must “start with jobs” and not with “this idea that if you just make rich people richer somehow in the end we’ll all be better off”.

He said it is “pretty insulting” to those going out to work each day to suggest richer people are the source of economic growth.

When asked by BBC Radio Surrey, the Labour leader said he has not paid off his mortgage.

But, focusing on others impacted by rising interest rates, he said: “If they’re not on a fixed rate, of course they’re paying more as a direct result of the kamikaze politics of two weeks ago. That is just not fair and I think they will be more than frustrated, if they’ll… not a little bit angry.”

POLITICS Tory
(PA Graphics)

Referring to recent poll leads for his party, Sir Keir told BBC Radio Devon that he will not be “complacent” about Labour’s performance as he has got to “earn every vote”.

Meanwhile, asked on LBC when the country will know when the Government’s growth plan is working, Mr Berry said: “This is going to be a difficult winter. We have a war on the soil of Europe in the Ukraine, with a vile and illegal war. We have challenges around global supply chains still coming into our economy from Covid. We have global inflation.

“So this is going to be a difficult winter, but I hope and believe that people will start to see next year that our growth plan is turning the country around.”

A Government spokesman said there are a “range of factors” affecting mortgage interest rates.

They also said the Government is doing “what it can” to support people with the rising costs of energy through the price guarantee and other measures, and that the growth plan and changes to taxes are putting money “back in the pockets” of working people.