Keir Starmer said a Labor government would not seek to nationalize the Big Six energy companies, apparently abandoning a campaign pledge to the leadership to “support common ownership of railways, mail, energy and electricity. ‘water “.
Appearing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr on Sunday as Labor’s annual conference kicked off in Brighton, Starmer was asked directly if he would consider nationalizing major energy suppliers to deal with the energy crisis. He replied, “No. “
Instead, he said Labor would only advocate nationalization when it delivers improved value and services to taxpayers.
“When it comes to common property, I’m pragmatic about it,” he said. “Let me spell it out. This means that where common ownership is profitable for the taxpayer and provides better service, then I am in favor of common ownership.
During his leadership campaign for the Labor Party, one of Starmer’s 10 key pledges was that “Public services should be in the hands of the public, not profit for shareholders.” Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water.
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband suggested on Newsnight earlier in the week that the party was about to renew its commitment to common ownership of energy and other public resources.
“We have not changed this commitment,” said Miliband. “If we want to make this green transition, then public ownership is the right way to go. “
Starmer will deliver his first in-person conference speech to Labor and MPs on Wednesday, after kicking off the meeting with an internal row over how his successor will be chosen.
He defended his decision to push for a change in Labor’s leadership rules at the conference, saying “a tough, strong leader makes tough decisions.”
Starmer also gave a veiled slap to his deputy, Angela Rayner, who spoke at a side meeting on Saturday night, calling the Tories “a pile of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynist, an absolute pile of republic. banana… ”
The Labor leader said it was “not a language I would use” and said “Angela and I take different approaches”. When asked if she should apologize, he replied, “That’s Angela’s business, but I wouldn’t have used those words… I’ll tell Angela about it later.”
After criticizing the government’s national insurance hike as unfairly hitting workers, Starmer has also not ruled out raising income taxes to boost public finances.
“We are looking at taxation – nothing is excluded – but we do not know what the state of national finances will be as the elections approach,” he said. “What we don’t want to do – whether it’s income tax, or any other type of tax, national insurance – is unfairly hitting working families, which this government is doing.”
Starmer also hinted at a wealth tax to rebalance the fairness of the tax system. “Look at the choice the government is making. By virtue of their provision, by virtue of their tax which they announced the other week, those who own many properties as owners do not pay a penny more, unlike their active tenants, ”he said. he declares.
Citing the gap between children from rich and poor families more at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor leader also presented a plan to increase the tax burden on private schools in England by removing their charitable status – a move which he said would raise an estimated £ 1.6bn in VAT and £ 100m in business rates.
Starmer said, “It is a political choice to take this money and transfer it to our public schools so that the children and youth in our public schools have the best chance to come out of schools ready for life, ready for the future. job. “