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Infrastructure blog

5 infrastructure takeaways from the 2024 Labour Party manifesto

Date
13 June 2024

The Labour Party has published its general election manifesto. What would Labour forming the next government mean for infrastructure?

5 infrastructure takeaways from the 2024 Labour Party manifesto
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer launched the party’s 2024 general election manifesto in Manchester. Image credit: Keir Starmer (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Labour leader Keir Starmer launched the party’s 2024 general election manifesto earlier today.

The manifesto promises to ‘change’ Britain if Labour forms the next government.

Here are five key takeaways for what that would mean for infrastructure.

1. A ‘clean energy superpower’

The manifesto sets out Labour’s mission to make Britain ‘a clean energy superpower’ to cut bills, increase energy security and achieve net zero.

It would set up Great British Energy – a new publicly-owned clean power company with £8.3 billion to invest over the next Parliament.

The company would be based in Scotland but tasked with building supply chains across the UK.

Labour says it’s committed to delivering zero-carbon electricity by 2030.

It pledges to work with the private sector to double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by then.

Addressing obstacles

There’s a pledge to work with industry to address delays in grid connections and upgrade transmission infrastructure.

A new Energy Independence Act would create the framework for Labour’s energy and climate policies.

These would be funded in part by closing loopholes and extending the windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

Heat in homes and energy efficiency

Alongside clean energy, the manifesto also prioritises improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes.

A Warm Homes Plan would offer grants and low interest loans for home improvements such as insulation, solar panels, and low carbon heating.

In total, Labour has said it would invest an extra £6.6 billion over the next parliament to upgrade five million homes.

There’s also a pledge for homes in the private rented sector to meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030.

The ICE has explored how to address financial barriers to public behavioural change to achieve net zero.

2. A ‘long-term strategy for transport’

Labour says it would develop ‘a long-term strategy for transport’ to ensure transport infrastructure is delivered efficiently and on time.

The manifesto also confirms Labour’s commitments to setting up Great British Rail (GBR) and bringing the railways into public ownership as existing contracts end.

GBR would be responsible for service quality, investment and day-to-day operations. It would also have a duty to grow the use of rail freight.

On electric vehicles (EVs), Labour would restore the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines.

The ICE has previously set out the case for a national transport strategy.

3. Extending devolution

The manifesto commits to deepen devolution deals for existing combined authorities and extend devolution to more areas.

This includes encouraging local authorities to come together and take on new powers – including over transport, skills, housing and planning.

Labour also plans to introduce multi-year funding settlements for councils and end competitive bidding.

Mayors will gain the power to create unified and integrated transport systems.

This includes working with GBR in designing rail services in their areas and new powers over local bus services.

4. Infrastructure planning and delivery

Labour would develop a new 10-year infrastructure strategy to guide investment and provide certainty about the project pipeline.

The party would align this with an industrial strategy and regional development priorities – which include Improving rail connectivity across the north of England.

The document also includes Labour’s recent announcement that it would create a new National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority.

This would bring together existing bodies to set strategic infrastructure priorities and oversee project design, scope, and delivery.

Planning reform

Labour also pledges to reform planning to enable faster delivery of nationally significant infrastructure projects.

This would include setting out new national policy statements, as announced by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves at last year’s party conference.

It also wants to make sure the system “meets the needs of a modern economy” by making it easier to build laboratories, digital infrastructure, and battery plants.

And it says there will be “a renewed push” to achieve full gigabit and national 5G coverage by 2030.

Under its proposals, failing water companies would be placed under ‘special measures’ to clean up Britain’s water.

It also proposes giving regulators new powers to deter water pollution, including stopping the payment of bonuses and bringing criminal charges.

5. A new industrial strategy

To support its economic growth ambitions, Labour says it would introduce a new industrial strategy.

The aim is to build up the domestic supply chains needed to achieve net zero and other long-term ambitions. It also wants to ensure Britain is an exporter of technologies of the future.

A new Industrial Strategy Council, set up on a statutory footing, would provide expert advice.

Labour plans to establish a National Wealth Fund to drive investment in its growth and clean energy ambitions.

This would have £7.3 billion to invest with a target of attracting £3 of private investment for every £1 of public investment.

In particular, the fund would support Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan. Specific pledges include:

  • £1.8 billion to upgrade ports and build supply chains
  • £1 billion to speed up the use of carbon capture
  • £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen

Labour also aims to increase investment from pension funds in UK markets.

A British Jobs Bonus allocating up to £500 million per year from 2026 would incentivise firms to build their manufacturing supply chains in Britain.

Green finance

Labour states that it wants to make the UK “the green finance capital of the world”.

A future Labour government would require UK-regulated financial institutions and FTSE 100 companies to implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

It also pledges to reverse the decision to prevent the Bank of England from giving due consideration to climate change in its mandates.

The ICE has previously explored options for financing the net zero transition.

ICE priorities for the next UK government

The ICE has recently outlined the priorities the next government should focus on, including reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, unlocking economic growth, adapting to climate change, and improving the lives of the public.

Find out more

In case you missed it

  • The ICE has launched a consultation on fixing Australia’s infrastructure delivery challenge
  • Policy Fellow Robert White analyses the 2024 New Zealand Budget
  • David McNaught, policy manager at ICE