Keir Starmer calls for UK to 'embrace the change that's coming'
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The pro-EU peer took to Twitter after the Labour leader announced he would introduce recovery bonds in the wake of the pandemic. Lord Adonis insisted the best way to boost Britain would be to rejoin the single market and customs union – despite the UK only cutting ties with the bloc at the end of the year.
The Labour peer tweeted: “The best ‘British Recovery Bond’ would be to rejoin the European Customs Union and Single Market – to boost our trade and cut prices.
“Not a good idea to issue bonds which simply drive up the government’s cost of borrowing, forcing taxes even higher.”
Lord Adonis’ tweet comes after Sir Keir used a speech on Thursday to announce plans for recovery bonds after the coronavirus crisis.
The Labour leader called for a “new chapter” in the country’s history after the pandemic laid bare the nation’s “fragilities”.
He said: “We have to seize this moment to address them.”
“We can go back to the same insecure and unequal economy that’s been so cruelly exposed by the virus, or we can seize the moment, and go forward to a future that’s going to look utterly unlike the past.”
During the virtual address in central London, Sir Keir compared the recovery from coronavirus to the post-war period.
He said there is an “opportunity” to think creatively and to “forge a new contract with the British people”.
In response to the Bank of England suggesting the “vast majority of savings built up during the pandemic won’t be spent”, the Labour leader said: “If I were prime minister, I would introduce a new British recovery bond.
“This could raise billions to invest in local communities, jobs and businesses.
“It could help build the infrastructure of the future – investing in science, skills, technology and British manufacturing.
“It would also provide security for savers and give millions of people a proper stake in Britain’s future.”
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It would be similar to the NS&I premium bonds, Labour said, though the money would go directly to the coronavirus recovery – potentially raising “billions” of pounds.
In a nod to late Labour former prime minister Sir Harold Wilson, who said the party is “a moral crusade or it is nothing”, Sir Keir said: “Our moral crusade now is to address the inequalities and injustices that this crisis has so brutally exposed – and to build a better, more secure future.”
He said there is a “mood in the air” that Britain’s “collective sacrifice must lead to a better future” akin to 1945 after the sacrifice of war.
Sir Keir described next month’s Budget as presenting a “fork in the road”.
He pledged that a Labour government would keep the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit, as well as ending the “insult” of a pay freeze for key workers
He also said his party would provide local authorities with the necessary funding to prevent huge council tax rises.
And he vowed to extend business rate relief and the VAT cut for hospitality and leisure.
On jobs, he pledged to extend and update the furlough scheme so it can better help people back into work, and said Labour would “fix” the Government’s Kickstart scheme.
And the Labour leader announced plans to offer 100,000 start-up loans if he came to power.
He said: “If we’re honest, for too long Labour has failed to realise that the only way to deliver social justice and equality is through a strong partnership with business – under my leadership, that mind-set will change.
“A new partnership with business – one where we have high expectations of business and where business can have high expectations of Labour – is pivotal to my leadership and to my vision of the future.
“That’s why, if I was prime minister, I’d back a new generation of British entrepreneurs by providing start-up loans for 100,000 new businesses across every region of the UK.”
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