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Labour’s Manifesto: an initial analysis of the presumptive next U.K. Government’s stance on…resilience…

June 14, 2024

I’ve had a quick read of Labour’s manifesto, so you don’t have to. It is immeasurably weaker than the Greens’ on climate, nature, etc. It is of course superior to the Conservatives’ actually climate-wrecking promises. But that is an incredibly low bar.

The thing which is very striking about Labour’s new manifesto is how vague most of it is, and just how little is in it.

For (a crucial) example: Labour promised last year to support student demands for a climate education bill. But it’s simply not in their manifesto. (See .)

Seeing as how this marvellous website is focussed squarely on resilience, I thought I’d let you know in the most detail about what Labour’s manifesto has got to say on…resilience. This is a huge, absolutely crucial topic. Climate disasters will without doubt hit more frequently during the next Parliament. Many people will find their insurance policies becoming unaffordable, or will simply be refused insurance. What does Labour’s promise to voters have to say about all this?

Answer: extremely little, and what there is contains zero concrete legislative or budgetary promises.

Resilience is mentioned relevantly just three times in the manifesto. Quoting now:

‘Improving resilience:
Preparing for the future not only means tackling the climate and nature emergencies, but also adapting to the changes they will bring to our environment. Without action, flooding and coastal erosion will pose greater risks to lives, livelihoods and people’s wellbeing. The Conservatives’ poor risk management, and a disjointed approach across government and regulators have left Britain badly exposed. Labour will improve resilience and preparation across central government, local authorities, local communities, and emergency services. This includes formally working with all stakeholders in the Fire and Rescue services to inform policy and establish national standards.’
(Labour 2024 manifesto, pp.57-58).

This is all very fine, but what does it actually mean? What does it add up to? Will there be any money at all for any of it? Why is there no commitment to a National Resilience Act, as recommended by the National Preparedness Commission in March of this year, a Commission led by Labour Lord Toby Harris:

And: that is about it. The third and final relevant occurence of ‘resilience’ in the manifesto is this one:

On house building:

‘Labour wants exemplary development to be the norm not the exception. We will take steps to ensure we are building more high-quality, well-designed, and sustainable homes and creating places that increase climate resilience and promote nature recovery.’ p.39

Again, this sound fine, but again where‘s the ‘beef’?

That is it.

Does it matter? Will Labour magically be miles better in Government than they are promising to be?

Well, they might be. But there is no reason to believe they will.

And one reason it really does matter is this: if something is in a Party manifesto, then the Lords won’t stop it from being legislated for. By failing to put anything substantive on this absolutely crucial topic in their manifesto, Labour are making things much more difficult for themselves, should they be planning secretly to do lots of good things hereabouts that they are not telling us about.

Resilience is our future. Or we don’t have one. Readers will draw their own conclusions. But put it this way: if you vote Labour, you are voting to commit to no substantive change, on this most critical and neglected of issues, at this epochal and increasingly dangerous moment in history.

Rupert Read

Rupert Read is an Emeritus Professor at the University of East Anglia and Co-Director of the Climate Majority Project. (