KEIR Starmer has been challenged to “come clean” on how his decision to backtrack on spending £28 billion a year on green energy will impact jobs and investment in Scotland.

The Labour leader is facing a growing backlash after dropping the flagship pledge last week, with the figure now drastically scaled back to just under £24bn over the five years of the next parliament.

On a visit to Scotland last March, Starmer had promised that his plans would deliver more than 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the renewable energy sector in Scotland alone over a decade.

SNP Westminster Stephen Flynn has described the U-turn as "economically illiterate and a major setback for Scotland".

He said: "Sir Keir Starmer must come clean on the jobs and investment Scotland will lose as a result of his damaging decision to slash green energy funding.

READ MORE: Labour insist Grangemouth plan safe as £28bn green pledge finally axed

"At a time when countries around the world are pumping money into green energy, it makes no sense for the UK to cut back. It's economically illiterate and a major setback for Scotland.

"Labour's one policy for economic growth has now been dumped by their own leader. Going into the General Election, the economic offer from Sir Keir Starmer's Labour party adds up to further decline in an already broken, Brexit Britain.

"You can't compete in the global green energy gold rush if you're not willing to enter the race. This latest U-turn shows Starmer's obsession with Tory cuts and Tory fiscal rules will damage Scotland's economy and public services.

"By boxing himself in on austerity cuts and Brexit, Starmer has set the UK on the path to another decade of poor growth – and it will be families across Scotland who will pay the price in lost jobs, wages and investment."

Flynn added: "The SNP rejects Starmer's Tory fiscal rules. We need to invest to secure growth, clean energy and cheaper bills – and £28bn is the bare minimum required when the US, EU and China are investing trillions."

Labour announced on Thursday the figure would be drastically scaled back to £23.7bn over the course of the next parliament if the party wins the next election, blaming the economic inheritance of Liz Truss’s mini-Budget in September 2022 along with higher interest rates.

Starmer said: “Every family knows that they’ve had to adjust their plans. We’ve now had to adjust our plans.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer's £4.7 billion pledge 'matches what Scotland spends alone'

“And I think the British public appreciate us being straight and saying, because of the damage the Tories have done, we can’t now do everything that we wanted to do.

“I would much rather be straight with the British public than make a promise I can’t keep.”

The party’s plan to insulate homes is set to be one casualty of the climbdown, with five million expected to be completed in the first five years rather than the 19 million initially promised.

While it is not the first U-turn by the Labour leadership, the scale of the reversal prompted questions about why voters should believe the party’s promises and pledges.

Former adviser to Tony Blair John McTernan said it was “probably the most stupid decision the Labour Party's made”.

The Unite union – a major Labour donor – said the party risks “outsourcing their policy-making to the Conservatives”.