LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has come under fire this week after making clear his party would not scrap the Conservative Party’s two-child benefit cap policy.

This refusal marks another major U-turn since the former director of public prosecutions’ leadership campaign where he made 10 pledges his Labour government would adhere to.

It comes as the party gears up for a general election, which under current timelines must be held by January 28, 2025.

So what can we expect from a Labour manifesto in 2024, and how is it shaping up so far?


Starmer has looked to mimic the blueprint Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set forward with a short and simple five-point plan for an incoming Labour government.

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The “missions” were said to mark a “clean slate”, signalling a climbdown from his previous proposals set forward in the Labour leadership contest, which according to his website were “based on the moral case for socialism”.


The first of Labour’s missions is to “secure the highest sustained growth in the G7”.

This will include as a primary measure a harsher, less-lenient set of fiscal rules which shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said would be “non-negotiable”.

It will also involve establishing a “Take Back Control Act” to give individual towns and cities “the tools they need to develop credible, long-term growth plans”, as well as “making Brexit work”, according to the mission’s briefing document.

Starmer previously said when he ran for Labour leadership that he would “defend free movement”, and even attended a rally for a second EU referendum, so such rhetorical changes highlight a shift in his public position on Brexit-related issues.

The general tightening of the Labour Party’s fiscal policy has set the stage for their General Election strategy and future manifesto, with almost all major borrowing-funded investment plans put on the back-burner.


Labour’s second mission is to “halve serious violent crime and raise confidence in the police and criminal justice system to its highest levels, within a decade.”

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This mission has clear targets, with aims to “halve the level of violence against women and girls; halve the incidents of knife crime; raise confidence in every police force to its highest levels and reverse the collapse in the proportion of crimes solved”.

Some of the major measures Labour has set out to implement are: putting specialists into the police and the courts; appointing 13,000 new neighbourhood police and introducing compulsory racism and sexism training in the police force.

Crime has not been a primary concern for the public in recent times, with only 16% of people ranking it among their top three problems facing the country in the latest YouGov polling. Under this political backdrop, Labour may face questions over how they will fund the hiring of 13,000 new police officers, and whether this is even an appropriate use of funds given their abandoning of other spending commitments elsewhere, including abolishing the two-child benefit cap.


Labour’s third mission is “to build an NHS fit for the future: that is there when people need it; with fewer lives lost to the biggest killers; in a fairer Britain, where everyone lives well for longer”.

This is underpinned by pledges to bring back the family doctor, free up GP appointments by boosting mental health support, reform social care and create over 7000 new medical school places.

The latter may seem like a cheap fix for to plug workforce gaps, but some doctors have raised concerns around the quality of training under such proposals.

Reducing A and E waiting times will also remain a major challenge for any incoming government.


Labour’s fourth mission is “to make Britain a clean energy superpower.”

The establishment of a National Wealth Fund and GB Energy – a public energy company headquartered in Scotland are key parts of this mission.

The party has also pledged to invest in new green energy projects and “take up to £1,400 off the annual household bill and £53 billion off energy bills for businesses by 2030, by delivering a cheaper, zero-carbon electricity system by 2030”.

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One of the most controversial oil and gas developments in Scotland is the Rosebank development, which, according to developer Equinor’s environmental statement, will on average emit 165 kilotonnes of CO2 per year. Labour has pledged to oppose all new oil and gas licenses, but confirmed in June it would not revoke any licenses approved by the Tories.

Labour had previously committed to spending £28 billion a year towards its Green Prosperity Plan, it’s most significant spending commitment, but has now said it will “build up” to the pledge each year in parliament, scaling back one of its flagship promises.

Starmer had also pledged to nationalise energy – as well as water and train lines – in his race to replace Jeremy Corbyn, but Reeves said last year that nationalisation “doesn’t stack up against our fiscal rules”. Labour have signalled nationalising trains once current contracts end could still become party policy.


Labour’s fifth mission is "to break down the barriers to opportunity for every child, at every stage, and shatter the class ceiling.”

This education-focused goal also has clear targets, which are: to boost child development with half a million more children hitting the early learning goals by 2030; to see a sustained rise in young people’s school outcomes over the next decade and to expand high quality education, employment and training routes.

Labour have committed to hiring 6500 new teachers to help reach these goals, to be funded by clamping down on private school tax breaks.

The party has also endorsed apprenticeships as an educational route, a rare point of agreement between the major parties in both Westminster and Holyrood.

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But while Labour have flagged “breaking down barriers” as one of its five missions, they have abandoned some commitments to make strides towards this goal.

Starmer announced in May he would no longer abolish tuition fees for university students in England, part of his 10 pledges as a Labour leadership candidate.

The positioning of the phrase “shattering the class ceiling” at the forefront of its plans may be a hard sell to some voters though, with Starmer already reneging on his pledge to end Universal Credit, and on his pledge to raise the income tax rate for the top 5% of earners.

The party has however committed to scrapping the non-domicile tax status – which was enjoyed by Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy – to fund some of its much-reduced spending.