Keir Starmer speech: what did the Labour leader say at party conference, and what was the reaction?

Sir Keir Starmer revealed plans for a publicly-owned energy firm as well as detailing how his party would help first-time buyers

<p>Sir Keir Starmer has won praise for his speech at the Labour Party conference.</p>

Sir Keir Starmer has won praise for his speech at the Labour Party conference.

Sir Keir Starmer told the Labour Party conference that “Britain will get its future back” as well as unveiling a new major policy in plans for a publicly owned energy firm.

He invoked images of some of Labour’s past victories including - the landslide win led by Clement Atlee in 1945, and the party’s historic win in 1997 under Tony Blair and told the conference that “this is a Labour moment”.

But what did he say about Labour’s plan for Great British Energy, and what plans did he outline to help first-time buyers? And how has his speech been received? Here’s what you need to know.

Sir Keir Starmer has won praise for his speech at the Labour Party conference.

Great British Energy

One of the most-widely talked about points in Sir Keir’s speech was the plan he unveiled for a publicly-owned energy company.

He said Great British Energy will take advantage of opportunities in clean British power.

The Labour leader told delegates that at the moment the largest onshore wind farm in Wales was owned by Sweden, energy bills in Swansea were paying for schools and hospitals in Stockholm, the Chinese Communist party had a stake in the UK’s nuclear industry and five million Britons paid their bills to a French-owned energy company.

The role of GB Energy will be to provide additional capacity, alongside the rapidly expanding private sector, to establish the UK as a clean energy superpower and guarantee long term energy security, said Labour.

The party said the announcement of GB Energy builds on its commitment to make the UK a clean energy superpower by 2030 and create a National Wealth Fund (NWF).

The energy generation company will be given seed capital from the £8 billion NWF which it would use to invest in green schemes.

The state support would mean it could potentially invest in riskier schemes or more experimental technologies, such as tidal power, and the plan is for it to eventually become self-funding as a result of the money generated.

The independently-run firm could invest in nuclear schemes and ultimately even end up exporting energy overseas.

The NHS

Touching upon the announcements made yesterday by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, Sir Keir spoke about his part’s plan to get the NHS “back to its feet”

Addressing the Labour conference, Sir Keir said: “Talking to doctors in my local hospital, I said ‘the NHS is on its knees, isn’t it?’. They said ‘no, Keir, it’s face down on the floor’. And the pathetic response of the Government last week left it there.

“The way to get it back to its feet is with a stronger NHS workforce. That is the main barrier to capacity right now – staff.

“So, as Rachel announced yesterday, we will take on an extra 7,500 medical students every year, we will double the number of district nurses, 5,000 new health visitors, 10,000 extra nursing placements.”.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2022.

New Deal for Workers

The Labour leader said his party would end “the blight of low pay and insecure work” with a New Deal for Working People.

He said: “The real problem is we create too many jobs that are low paid and insecure. We lock too many communities out of the wealth we create. And public services aren’t strong enough to help working people succeed.

“That’s why we struggle to grow – our economic foundations are weak. And the Tory argument is: that’s fine. If the City of London races ahead and the rest of the country stagnates – they think that’s okay.”

He added: “Conference, they’re the ones not prepared to graft. They’re the ones not prepared to do the hard yards on growth. But we will.

“We will end the blight of low pay and insecure work with our New Deal for Working People. We will transform the state so the decisions which drive growth in communities are made by local people with skin in the game.”

Help for first-time buyers

Sir Keir promised to make owning a home a reality for another 1.5 million households, branding Labour “the party of home ownership in Britain today”.

The Labour leader said he wanted to see 70% of households own their own homes and appeared to back more housebuilding in his speech to the Labour Party conference on Tuesday.

After years of rising home ownership, he warned that “under the Tories, the dream of owning your own home is slipping away for too many”.

Reaching 70% home ownership would mean an increase from 65% today and a return to levels last seen in 2003.

Although the Labour leader did not detail specific policies, he suggested Labour would look to reform the planning system to increase housebuilding, saying: “If you keep inflating demand without increasing supply, house prices will only rise.”

He said: “No more buy-to-let landlords or second homeowners getting in first. We will back working people’s aspiration, help first-time buyers onto the ladder with a new mortgage guarantee scheme, reform planning so speculators can’t stop communities getting shovels in the ground.”

The party has also pledged to increase stamp duty for foreign buyers to prevent overseas investors buying up property and pricing out British households.

Sir Keir Starmer, with his wife Victoria, leaves the stage after giving his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference.

How has his speech been received?

Unions have praised Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s speech to the party conference in Liverpool, saying he offered hope to workers.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the shopworkers union Usdaw, said: “Today we saw a leader and future prime minister who prides himself on standing with working people and one who will govern for working people.

“In contrast, the Tories are continuing their 12 years of failure by losing control of the economy and causing a run on the pound, all for giving away unfunded tax cuts to the rich, not supporting workers struggling to make ends meet.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said: “Keir is right to say that the Tories are only interested in those at the top. They have turned their backs on the 99% with their tax cuts for the 1%.

“He has today shown that Labour will govern in the interests of working people while tackling climate change, rather than acting only for vested interests and the rich.”

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “Labour looks every bit a government in waiting.

“Keir Starmer provided a message of hope and unity for the country while the Conservatives are all about fear and division.”

Meanwhile speaking of the plan for Great British Energy Cat Hobbs, director of public ownership campaigning group We Own It said, “We’re absolutely delighted about this fantastic announcement. Great British Energy, in public ownership, will invest in renewable energy, tackle climate crisis and bring down bills.”

And Sir Keir’s proposal for first-time buyers was welcomed by the National Association of Property Buyers, which represents companies in the quick house buying industry.

NAPB spokesperson Jonathan Rolande said: “We support Labour’s pledging to build more property and their idea to give first time buyers first refusal on new builds in their area is a pledge that’s bound to be popular.

“The fact overseas buyers will also face a further increase in stamp duty will help level the playing field for local owner occupiers.”