Starmer calls on Sunak to jumpstart economy after Bank of England predicts zero growth until 2025

Keir Starmer will call on Rishi Sunak to jumpstart the economy in the upcoming King’s Speech as he tries to draw to a close to one of his most difficult weeks as Labour leader.

Sir Keir will attempt to pile pressure on the prime minister over the UK’s sluggish growth, less than a day after the Bank of England froze interest rates at 5.25 per cent and predicted zero economic growth until 2025.

The move has placed in doubt one of Mr Sunak’s key pledges to voters, to get the economy growing.

The Labour leader will use a speech to warn that the Conservatives’ last programme for government before the election risks being a "manifesto for stagnation".

It comes at the end of a fraught week for Sir Keir, in which he has battled to maintain discipline within his party.

Members of his frontbench have been in revolt against his stance of calling for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting in Gaza, instead of a full-scale ceasefire.

The Labour leader will say during a visit to Durham that central to the King’s Speech should be a “mission to get Britain building again”, as he reiterated his vow to “take on the blockers that hold a veto over British aspiration”.

Addressing businesses at the North East Chamber of Commerce, he is expected to say: "Britain needs this King's Speech to kick off a big build. We have to provide the businesses, communities and people of this nation with the conditions to succeed.”

He will say that a Labour government would invest in the critical infrastructure the North East desperately needs, including battery gigafactories that would protect electric-car manufacturing in Sunderland. Mr Sunak has pledged the King's Speech will include a focus on measures to grow the economy.

Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said: "Sir Keir Starmer is making more empty promises that mean even less than usual as he can't even enforce collective responsibility in his own party.

"If his own team are allowed to openly defy him, how could he possibly persuade MPs to vote for the difficult long-term decisions that the country needs?”

The UK economy is expected to flatline next year, the Bank of England said, as it also warned inflation could stay higher for longer than previously predicted.