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Labour conference begins with pledges on policing and clean power – as Starmer says ‘change is on the way’

The Labour Party’s annual conference begins today – and policies on neighbourhood policing and clean energy are among those on the agenda.

The Labour leader is seeking to set out the dividing lines between his party and the new Tory government during the four-day event.

Speaking at a London Labour reception on Friday evening, Sir Keir Starmer proclaimed that “change is on the way” and later at the community union’s reception referred to the government as “a shower”.

The Labour leader also accused the government of having “an ideological mission to make the rich, richer” and described the tax-cut heavy mini-budget as not trickle-down economics but “a p*** take”.

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In the first announcements of the conference, Sir Keir will today set out plans to make the UK a world-leading clean energy superpower by 2030 as an urgent priority of a future Labour government and to bolster neighbourhood policing.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting will also promise to bring back the family doctor so more patients see the same GP each appointment.

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Labour’s energy proposal will involve

• building a power system run entirely by cheap, home-grown renewables and nuclear by the end of the decade

• to more than quadruple offshore wind, triple solar and double onshore wind by the end of the decade

• to back nuclear, hydrogen and tidal power

The party say the clean power proposals, part of their Green Prosperity Plan, would slash energy bills permanently, create hundreds of good jobs and make the UK energy secure while simultaneously tackling the climate crisis.

They add that the policy will save UK households £475 per year until 2030 and create over 200,000 direct jobs.

Great debate

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Unveiling the proposal, Sir Keir is expected to say: “Our plan for clean power by 2030 will save the British people £93bn off their energy bills, and break the UK’s vulnerability to Putin and his cronies. It will also support out drive for higher growth and rising living standards.

“From a world-leading offshore wind industry in Scotland and the East Coast, hydrogen in the North-West and Teesside, nuclear power in the South-East, and solar power in the South and Midlands, this truly national enterprise will unleash Britain’s potential with thousands of good, well-paid jobs across our country.

“This is a plan that will drive jobs, tackle the cost of living, and protect our home for future generations by tackling the climate crisis.”

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Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow secretary for climate and net zero, added: “It is time for an energy policy for people and planet.”

Labour is also pledging to bring back “proper neighbourhood policing” by putting 13,000 more neighbourhood police on Britain’s streets than there are today.

The party says this will include recruiting at least 10,000 more officers and PCSOs and that the plans are the equivalent of giving every constituency in England and Wales 15-20 extra neighbourhood police.

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Energy strategy to benefit businesses

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Over the last 12 years, the Conservatives have decimated neighbourhood policing.

“In towns and cities across the country, people just don’t see police on the streets any more, while fewer criminals are being caught and nothing is being done about antisocial behaviour.

“This can’t go on. Labour has a plan to bring police back into our communities to tackle crime and its causes and to build community confidence. Under Keir Starmer’s leadership Labour is the party of law and order now.”

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On allowing individuals better access to their preferred doctors, Labour say they will provide GP practices with incentives to offer patients continuity of care, so doctors must take into account patients’ preferences.

Today, Labour’s conference will begin with a tribute to the Queen by Sir Keir followed by the national anthem.

Following this, deputy leader Angela Rayner is expected to outline Labour’s policy agenda and its plan to plough billions into jobs and regeneration.

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Iconic party conference moments

On Monday, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will spell out Labour’s alternative to Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax cuts bonanza before Sir Keir’s big speech on Tuesday on “a fairer, greener future for Britain”.

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

The Labour Party says this year’s conference will welcome more than 12,000 attendees for four days of policy discussion, training and events.

And a time when the party is strapped for cash, it claims this year’s exhibition is the most successful in 15 years in income and the number of exhibitions.

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