What are Labour's pledges for government?

Labour is promising to "make a real difference to people's lives" if it wins the next general election - expected later this year.

Sir Keir Starmer today set out how he plans to achieve that in what he is calling the party's "first steps to change Britain".

So what is on the revamped pledge card from Labour?

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Being strong on the economy is normally a central pitch of the Conservative Party, and fiscal responsibility has proven a vote winner in the past.

However, after the disastrous mini-budget of former Tory prime minister Liz Truss and the fallout, which led to record inflation and soaring mortgage rates, it isn't much of a surprise that Labour is trying to place itself as the safe pair of hands to handle the economy.

The party is promising to follow the strict fiscal rules the government already has in place - only borrowing to invest rather than using it on day-to-day spending - as it seeks to win trust from voters that Sir Keir's team can handle the public finances.

Telling a story of a couple in Wolverhampton who decided not to have a second child due to money, the leader said: "I'm not prepared to allow an incoming Labour government ever to do that kind of damage to working people.

"I [can] hardly believe I'm saying this, [but] stability is change. And that's why it has to be our first step."

But Labour has faced criticism from some for being too "timid" and limiting itself from making bigger and bolder spending pledges.

Both Sir Keir and his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves are sticking to this script, however, promising money will come from the economic growth they generate, and promising to "keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible".

Sir Keir has pledged to cut wait times within the NHS - and the health service regularly comes out as the biggest issue for voters ahead of an election.

A study by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine earlier this year said more than 250 patients in England may be dying unnecessarily each week due to long waits for A&E doctors, while more than seven million patients are waiting to have a procedure done.

The Conservatives have made progress in some areas, such as with attempts to bring cancer waiting times back below pre-pandemic levels.

But the overall figures remain shockingly high and Labour is making cutting the numbers one of its key pledges, promising to create an extra 40,000 appointments each week on evenings and weekends to take a chunk out of the figures.

"It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of this problem," said Sir Keir. "Nearly eight million operations and appointments are needed - eight million.

"That means everyone in this room, everybody watching or listening, is probably on a waiting list or knows someone who's on a waiting list. That's the worst it's ever been."

He added: "That is the price so many people are paying, and that's why we have to deal with it."

However, the extra appointments will be covered with overtime by existing staff, and unions are warning it can only be a stopgap, with nurses and doctors already burnt out from their heavy workloads.

Rishi Sunak has made his pledge to "stop the boats" a key element of his leadership, going all in on the government's Rwanda plan to deport people who arrive via Channel crossings to the African nation.

But Labour has condemned the scheme as a "gimmick" and is instead offering its own alternative to tackle the issue.

Sir Keir announced the proposals in the days after Dover MP Natalie Elphicke defected from the Tories to Labour, having said Mr Sunak's plan was failing.

He promised to launch a new Border Security Command to tackle the gangs behind the people smuggling, granting the organisation new powers under counter-terrorism rules to make an impact.

They will allow officers to conduct stop and searches at the border, carry out financial investigations and issue search and seizure warrants targeting organised immigration crime.

"I worked for five years as the chief prosecutor, the director of public prosecutions, and I worked with police and law enforcement across Europe to take down criminal gangs that were terrorist gangs," he said.

"These are sophisticated gangs... But we did it. We took them down. I will never accept that it is impossible to take down the vile gangs that bring people in small boats across the Channel, and we will smash [them]."

Great British Energy is one of Sir Keir's first standout policies that he announced at Labour's party conference back in 2022 - and one that has become more relevant as energy costs soared amid the war with Ukraine.

The idea is the new, publicly-owned firm would provide additional capacity alongside the private sector to help establish the UK as a clean energy superpower.

The party believes that not only would this guarantee long-term energy security, but it would also cut bills and provide jobs.

Accusing the Tories of "sticking plaster politics" over their decision to "cut the green crap", Sir Keir said: "That left us really badly exposed, so when world events changed and Russia invaded Ukraine, we were more exposed than other countries and your bills went up, more than they should have done.

"I'm not prepared to let that happen under a Labour government."

But after his party watered down its other green pledges over the cost implications, some will be keeping a close eye on what becomes of this proposal.

A key election issue that is always raised come polling time is crime, and one of Labour's pledges in this area is tackling anti-social behaviour.

Sir Keir is promising to recruit more neighbourhood police so residents will see more patrols on the streets.

There will also be tougher new penalties for offenders who cause issues in their area.

But on the more preventive side, the party is also promising to create a new network of youth hubs.

The Labour leader said: "All my working life, when I was chief prosecutor and since I've been a politician, people say to me, 'Keir, this is low level antisocial behaviour, not that important'. [That is] completely wrong.

"If you [are scared] to open your front door at night when you go out, if you feel you can't walk down your own high street or be comfortable and safe in your own community, that is massive. That is a big inhibitor for so many people. It's not low level, it's really important."

The Tories have made their own pledges in this area, including making offenders clean up graffiti or damage they cause within 48 hours.

So it will be up to voters to decide which approach they prefer.

The final 'first steps' promise from the Labour leader is on education - part of his wider pledge to "break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage".

Sir Keir has now put a figure on the number of new teachers he wants to recruit - 6,500 - saying they will focus on key subjects "to prepare children for life, work and the future".

"I want every child, whatever their background, to think that success belongs to them so they don't have to change who they are to get on," he said.

"And this Labour Party will fight every day to get those children a future which is fit for that."

The party says these teachers will be paid for through Labour's plan to end tax breaks for private schools.

But not everyone is a fan of scrapping the charitable status of the institutions, and you can expect beady eyes to be looking at Labour's frontbench and which schools they choose to send their children to.