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Labour counters Tory claims on landfill bans and GIB borrowing powers

Labour has rejected claims of “unfunded” spending commitments, including a ban on food waste to landfill, which were listed in a dossier produced by the Conservatives.

The document claims that Labour has proposed £2.52bn of revenue-raising measures while pledging initiatives that would cost around £23.26bn in the first year of the next Parliament.

They include imposing a landfill ban on food waste which, according to the Tory analysis, would cost as much as £477m in 2015-16.

The majority of the cost would come from a £475m decline in landfill tax revenues. The remaining £2m would be enforcement and communication costs imposed on Defra and local authorities.

Mary Creagh

As MRW reported in September 2013, Mary Creagh, left, the then shadow secretary of state for environment food and rural affairs, promised a landfill ban during at Labour party conference.

She said: “A One Nation Labour government will ban food from landfill so that less food gets wasted in the supermarket supply chain and more food gets eaten by hungry children.”

However, a Labour spokesperson said that was “out of date” and a ban will not be included in the party’s election manifesto. “This is not Labour’s policy - it was not agreed at Labour’s National Policy Forum in July 2014 and is not in the National Policy Forum document.”

Another contested point concerned the granting of borrowing powers to the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The Tory dossier claims that this would result in at least £3.8bn additional spending to service the debt in the first year of the next parliament.

The Labour party has replied that giving the bank the ability to borrow from capital market is a proposal that was also put forward by the Conservative party.

In June 2013, business secretary Vince Cable said that in 2015-16 the GIB will be allowed to borrow up to £500m from a Government lending fund called the National Loans Fund. He described it as the first step towards full borrowing powers.

But, presenting the bank’s first full year results in June 2014, GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said the bank does not need to issue debt, at least for now.

He noted the GIB has only invested around a third of its original capital and has pursued other routes, such as setting up an offshore wind fund, to raise funding.

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