Oxford councillors have slammed Sir Keir Starmer for ditching Labour’s pledge to spend £28 billion a year on green projects.

The Labour leader has been accused of a “lack of leadership” by city and county councillors over his major U-turn.

Sir Keir pledged the £28 billion in 2021 as part of Labour’s plan to reach climate targets and secure green jobs.

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But he announced on Thursday (February 8) the party would only spend £23.7 billion if it wins the next election.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Damian Haywood said the Labour leader's decision was disappointingCouncillor Damian Haywood said the Labour leader's decision was disappointing (Image: Ed Nix)

Independent councillor Damian Haywood, who stood down from the Labour party on Oxfordshire County Council last year, said he was “disappointed” with the decision.

He said: “We need this level of investment if we are going to combat the ever increasing challenges of climate change as the cost of not investing will be significantly greater.”

Sir Keir claimed the pledge was no longer possible because the Conservative government had crashed the economy.

Mr Haywood, who represents the Iffley Fields and St Mary's division, agreed that blame also lied with the Tories.

“They have wrecked the economy not allowing any room for manoeuvre for future governments and have not invested in a green economy in the past,” he said.

Oxford Mail: Green councillor Emily Kerr said Starmer had shown a lack of leadershipGreen councillor Emily Kerr said Starmer had shown a lack of leadership

But Oxford city councillor Emily Kerr said the Labour leader’s decision “makes no sense”.

The Green Party councillor for St Mary's said: “Labour has the chance to invest to make Britain one the leading global green economies creating thousands of jobs - and they’re ditching that because they’re scared of the Tories.

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“Climate change is a clear and present danger and our next government should be leading the way.

"I am incredibly disappointed in this lack of leadership from Starmer.”

But Labour has insisted it will spend more than the Tories on green projects if it wins the election.

Deputy leader of the county council Labour group, Charlie Hicks, said: “The Labour Party’s focus on delivering our climate mission is unchanged.

“We are committed to delivering clean power by 2030, which will create good jobs across Britain, cut bills, and provide energy security.

“The Green Prosperity Plan remains a central piece of delivering this.”

Mr Hicks, who represents the Cowley division, also blamed the Tories for the U-turn.

“The changes announced yesterday are based on the worse economic picture we see today because the Conservatives have trashed the economy,” he said.

“The damage Liz Truss did to the economy unfortunately has severe consequences and this is one of them."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I think what Labour announced yesterday just demonstrates what we’ve been saying – they absolutely don’t have a plan.

“Their signature economic policy is in tatters, and when you don’t have a plan, you can’t deliver any change for the country.”