Casino events

Starmer: Let’s present an alternative to the conservative casino economy at the conference

Sir Keir Starmer said the Labor conference was an opportunity for the party to ‘define the alternative’ to the Conservative government’s ‘casino economy’.

Arriving in Liverpool on Saturday ahead of the annual rally, the Labor leader said Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had shown their “true colours” with their series of tax cuts which mainly benefit the wealthy.

Sir Keir’s supporters hope he will use the four-day conference, which begins on Sunday, to capitalize on the unpopularity of the new administration’s economic measures.

The government’s controversial program to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses, crack down on social benefits and drastically cut taxes has deepened the ideological divide between the two main parties and given Labor plenty of ammunition.

Addressing a crowd outside the Pullman Hotel in Liverpool, Sir Keir said: “After 12 long years of Conservative failure, did they not show their true colors yesterday?

“Their driving ideology – make the rich richer and do nothing for the workers.

“Well, this conference is our chance to present the alternative, to make the case for an economy that works for working people, growth for everyone, everywhere, a fairer and more green. Let’s do it.”

Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria arrive at the Pullman Hotel Liverpool ahead of the conference (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA wire)

Earlier, the Labor leader tweeted: ‘The Conservative casino economy is gambling the mortgages and finances of every family in the country.

“Work will ensure growth for workers, which benefits all communities.”

He is expected to link the Conservatives’ decisions to declining living standards and formulate a compelling vision for improving them.

Labour’s call for a heftier windfall tax on the profits of energy and oil giants to fund the freezing of energy bills – which Ms Truss is paying for by borrowing – will be a key part of the argument.

We have already seen economic benefits. It doesn’t work… I think it will make the situation worse for the next generation

Deputy Chief Angela Rayner

Deputy Leader Angela Rayner criticized the government’s “trickle down” economics and said her party would focus on “longer-term growth”.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘We wouldn’t make a choice about tax cuts at the moment, we don’t think that’s the way to go.

“We would ask oil and gas companies to pay a little more when they have made billions of pounds in profit, instead of putting it all on the national debt. We don’t think that’s the right priority.

“We have already seen economic benefits. It does not work. We don’t believe it will stimulate the economy. And, you know, I think that will make it worse for the next generation.

She said Labor would reverse the abolition of the top tax rate of 45p, arguing that “those with the broadest shoulders should pay more”.

Sir Keir will seek to project himself as future prime minister in his speech on Tuesday, with his confidence bolstered by a comfortable lead in the polls.

However, there are fears the gap may not be wider despite the turmoil of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government and as voters remain unsure of the direction his successor Ms Truss is heading.

Hopes that Sir Keir can lead the party to victory at the next general election will always be higher than at last year’s conference, which was seen as a watershed moment for him.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, told the BBC the Labor leader should “be bolder” in his economic policy and not “stand still” to win power.

This year’s event – only Sir Keir’s second in-person conference since taking office – is expected to feature fewer internal divisions due to an exodus of left-wing party members.

But the sources of tension could be debates over electoral reform and Sir Keir’s ban on joining strikers on the picket lines, costing Sam Tarry his role as shadow transport minister in July.

Some dissent is possible during a rendition of God Save The King at the start of the rally. Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has called the decision to sing the national anthem for the first time in recent history “very strange”.

Angela Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer (Danny Lawson/PA)

(PA wire)

After Sir Keir pays tribute to the late Queen, Ms Rayner will open the conference by pledging to end the Tories’ ‘supply racket’ and instead reward companies that create jobs, skills and a local regeneration.

One in six public contracts issued by the government in the past five years have been won by companies linked to a tax haven, Rayner noted.

She said: ‘Under the next Labor government there will be no hiding place for cronies and no corner for corruption. We will give conservative sleaze dealers their marching orders, end aid to tax havens and delist failing suppliers.

The TUC has welcomed the plans, which include the massive internalisation of public procurement.

General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These proposals are essential. Outsourcing has been a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and has led to a race to the bottom on workers’ wages and conditions.

Other announcements will include a new Hillsborough Act to help prevent future injustices where there is state involvement.

Labor has also pledged to recruit social workers guaranteeing fair pay, workers’ rights and proper training as part of a national care service, as it claimed that “too many private equity firms fail” in their duty to residents.

The party is also reviving its slogan “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” by announcing plans to prevent child exploitation and create specialized rape courts to speed up cases and support victims.

The Conservatives’ conference will take place in Birmingham from October 2-5. The Liberal Democrats canceled theirs as it fell within the period of mourning following the Queen’s death.