'Labour has taken the majority as a mandate for change - but still need to set out what these changes will be!' -John Redwood

Keir Starmer

John Redwood says the Labour Party need to "beef up the growth policy urgently"

John Redwood

By John Redwood

Published: 08/07/2024

- 10:28

Sir John Redwood says that the Labour government is run by "civil servants for civil servants"

So now we know the style and direction of this government. It is a government by civil servants for civil servants. The establishment is purring. Recent senior civil servants are chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is a former senior legal civil servant. The Chancellor was a junior employee of the Bank of England. One of the two civil servants who shaped and insisted on Covid lockdowns is parachuted in as a Minister. The new Attorney General comes from outside Parliament from the legal establishment.

The government says stability is what counts. The first trip of the Foreign Secretary is to reassure Germany and the EU that the new government will be more accommodating of their demands.

The Prime Minister's first priority is to travel to visit the devolved governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to assure them of smooth exchanges with the Union. This is good civil service consensus policy, not a government with a growth and public service agenda in a hurry for change.

The Treasury and OBR are told they will have a strengthened role. The tweak to the economic control framework was one mooted on the Government website before the new Chancellor arrived.

The EU Maastricht debt and deficit controls survive in their restated way keeping us more aligned with the EU. There is to be no twin Central Bank mandate of growth/jobs as well as low inflation to match the US Fed system.

The US presses on with faster growth and AI/ digital success whilst we remain tied to the European slow lane. The US has a growth requirement as an economic control which the UK lacks.

I like the government's overarching target to make the UK the fastest growing economy in the G7. It is a bold ambition which requires a lot of change.

Just saying they will double onshore wind, treble solar and quadruple offshore wind this decade is not going to make it happen and does not of itself catapult us to strongest economy.

Reinstating top down housing targets will not lead to a surge in new home buying and building. All the time mortgages remain dear and scarce and homes highly priced builders and buyers will not leap up to government targets. The country is short of bricks and builders, of tiles and sewage pipes that needs remedying for new homes to take off.

The new Health Secretary makes an unusual entrance telling his large staff the NHS is broken. We await his reform and repair kit. Staff will be worrying what it means for them.

Adding more consultations and treatments as the outgoing government was doing makes sense. The scale is modest so we await a bigger game changer.


Labour's vote was 3 million down on the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party of 2017. They only won a big majority because the Conservative vote was nearly down 7 million on 2017.

The two main parties only got 58% of the total vote together, compared to 82% seven years ago. Labour have taken the majority as a mandate for change, but so far have not set out what that change will be.

To get us to fastest growing economy they need to unleash many new businesses, large private investment and a big move into the new technologies that boost the US.

Cosying up to Germany which is now a growth laggard and having more discussions and negotiations with regional governments is not going to pull a U.K. Microsoft or Apple out of the hat to really propel US style growth. I wish them well but suggest they beef up the growth policy urgently.

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