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Live News: Labor leader Starmer vows to devolve powers to Westminster


Keir Starmer has pledged to prioritize the “Taking Control” bill in the first year of a new Labor government to devolve powers from Westminster to local communities.

The Labor leader, delivering his New Year speech in east London, said “take back control” was the successful slogan of the Brexit campaign group Vote Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

“We will take the message ‘Take back control,'” he said. “But we will turn it from slogan to solution, from catchphrase to change.”

The party will “spread control” beyond Westminster, Starmer added.

“We will . . . devolve new powers over support for employment, transport, energy, climate change, housing, culture, childcare provision and how councils manage their finances,” he said.

Some of the devolution policies were recommended in the recent constitutional review by former Labor prime minister Gordon Brown commissioned by Starmer.

The new bill will be part of a wider attempt to reshape British politics and the UK economy to create a “decade of national renewal”, Starmer said.

The Labor leader also promised tougher targets on green energy – with low-carbon electricity by 2030 – and an increase in the number of doctors and nurses in the NHS.

But he vowed to govern with tight fiscal rules, saying he would not reach for the “checkbook” to solve the country’s problems.

“We’re not going to be able to work our way out of their mess,” Starmer said. “It is not that simple.”

Starmer spoke on Thursday morning at the Here East campus in Stratford, where Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave his own New Year’s speech on Wednesday.


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