Many constituents have been in touch sharing their concerns about the climate crisis and the destructive Tory policies around the environment. You can read my response to them below:
Let me start by saying that I completely share your concern and passion for our environment and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. I am unequivocal about the fact that we need urgent action to avoid climate catastrophe. Recent reports from UN bodies and others have made clear the gravity of the situation, finding that existing emissions reduction policies put the world on course for warming of around 2.5°C, well above the 1.5°C target needed to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. As the UN Environmental Programme says, avoiding dangerous levels of warming now requires wide-ranging, large-scale, rapid and systematic transformation. I also think it’s worth mentioning that Labour has the most transformative set of green policies out of any of the major parties.
Making Great Britain a green energy superpower is also one of Keir Starmer’s 5 key missions, and it is one that will make energy cheap and secure so that the British public never again faces spiralling bills; boost jobs and investment in every region and nation of the country; and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. With shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky – powered by the Green Prosperity Plan – a Labour government will help Britain lead the world in cheaper, cleaner power and industry.
Firstly, in order Provide climate security to protect our planet for future generations a Labour government will create Great British Energy (GBE), a new, publicly owned clean generation company, that will harness the power of Britain’s sun, wind, and waves to cut energy bills and deliver energy security for our country.
GB Energy will be able to invest in and deliver projects to provide additional investment alongside the private sector. Its initial priority will be to co-invest in leading edge energy technologies where this can de-risk and unlock private sector investment. We will set out further details of this partnership ahead of the election.
GB Energy will also be able to invest to accelerate the deployment of established technologies where there is a clear case that public sector investment would accelerate private sector development. The Local Power Plan is one way it will do this – by supporting the development and scaling of municipal and community energy.
GB Energy will create jobs and build supply chains in this country, guaranteeing our long-term energy security. A driving motivation for GB Energy will be the need to emulate the success of other European countries and have our own domestic champion, building it in Britain. “RWE sees a role for GB Energy to play, alongside the Labour Party’s proposed National Wealth Fund, to unlock critical investment in key UK infrastructure and technology that cannot be taken forward by the private sector alone. RWE already has co-investments from a range of private and public organisations in our projects and would look forward to engaging with GB Energy on a similar basis to that of other prospective investment partners.” Tom Glover, RWE UK Country Chair
Secondly, only after Labour exerted pressure on the government did they implement a windfall tax on energy and gas companies, however it is still full of costly loopholes. We have criticised the windfall tax scheme because it applies to profits made from extracting UK oil and gas but not from other activities, such as refining oil and selling petrol and diesel on forecourts. It also lets firms claim tax savings worth 91p of every £1 invested in fossil fuel extraction in the UK. We have said the tax relief should be scrapped to implement a “proper” windfall tax, and would implement this in government.
Furthermore, Labour’s National Wealth Fund is a new strategic body to invest and create good jobs in the green industries of the future. It will invest public money to drive forward projects that are necessary to the energy transition and our industrial future, crowding in further private investment in crucial infrastructure. As well as creating new jobs and growing our economy, we want to make sure that when public money is invested, the British taxpayer will get a return on its investment and where appropriate, own a share of the project to ensure it happens. These investments will be targeted at industries where public investment can crowd in further private sector investment to deliver energy security and a cheaper, zero-carbon economy as well as jobs and growth across the country. This means projects where public sector investment can help overcome market failures, de-risk early-stage technologies and ensure British industries can get ahead of the game. At Annual Conference 2022, Labour set out an initial portfolio of investments to fund the projects we need to help Britain lead on the global race for modern industries, including:
- Upgrading our ports so they are renewable-ready, with an investment worth £1.8 billion over the parliament
- Channelling up to £500m into green hydrogen manufacturing over the parliament
- Transitioning the steel industry, with a £3 billion investment over a decade
- Decarbonising industrial clusters in every corner of the country, with an additional investment of £1 billion over the parliament
- Breaking the ground for new gigafactories to ensure the future of our automotive industry, with £2 billion investment over the parliament.
- The National Wealth Fund will negotiate equity stakes in return for those investments. It will be owned by the UK Government and capitalised over several years until it has a portfolio of investments across every part of the country.
Thirdly, a green jobs guarantee is a core pillar of our green mission. The transition to net zero is the economic opportunity of the 21st century. The massive rollout of renewables it requires will deliver lower bills for households and businesses for good. With the right policies, it can also create hundreds of thousands of good jobs in the industries of the future in every region of this country and increase our energy security, weaning us off our reliance on fossil fuels and dictators like Putin.
Over the last 13 years, the Tories have squandered this opportunity. Even when infrastructure has been installed here, jobs in the supply chain have gone abroad and on occasion the green jobs that have arrived have been marked by insecurity, low pay and bad conditions. In renewable industries like onshore wind and solar, job numbers have actually reduced over recent years.
By 2020, the Tories and the SNP had delivered less than a twentieth of the offshore wind jobs that were forecast in 2010. Britain under the Tories is losing the global race for the clean industries of the future, undermining our energy security, losing jobs overseas and betraying communities across the country. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Labour is determined to fix it. With our mission to make the UK a clean energy superpower, we will win good jobs for Britain and boost investment and jobs in Britain’s industrial heartlands and coastal communities, by rewarding clean energy developers with a British Jobs Bonus if they invest in good jobs and supply chains in those areas. 38 There were 9,900 jobs in solar in 2015, but only 6,400 by 2021; there were 8,200 jobs in onshore wind in 2016, but by 2021 only 5,000. (Source: ONS) 15 Labour will allocate a fund of up to £500m for each of its first five years to provide capital grants to incentivise companies developing clean technologies like offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage, to target their investment particularly at the areas that most need it, so that as we take on the climate crisis we also build a fairer, more prosperous country.
This fund will work by providing an incentive to winning bids in the Contracts for Difference auction to invest, create jobs and build their supply chains in industrial heartlands and coastal communities of the UK, including communities with historic and current ties to fossil fuel production like coal, oil and gas. In this way, there will be a clear and transparent incentive for companies to create jobs in these areas.
This policy is modelled in part of the success of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Areas that will particularly benefit will include Scottish oil and gas communities, coastal communities and the northeast of England. Independent analysis suggests that this policy alone will create up to 65,000 jobs in clean power industries in these areas by 2030, building on Labour’s plans to create up to half a million jobs in clean energy across the country.
This is Britain’s one, clear shot at getting back in the game. If we don’t invest now the country will simply fall further behind. The Tories say we can’t afford to do this, but Labour agrees with the British business community who say we can’t afford not to if we want British workers to enjoy the same opportunities for well-paid jobs that European and American workers are going to enjoy as a result of the investment, they are planning to put in. We will make these investments in line with our fiscal rules.
Under Labour, hundreds of thousands of jobs will flow into the UK as we rebuild supply chains here at home and export the clean technology of the 21st century around the world. We will also make sure that this new wave of green jobs are good jobs, with high standards, decent pay and union recognition as requirements for entry into the auction for contracts. This is part of Labour’s plan for cheap power for all and good jobs for Britain which will transform the UK into a clean energy superpower and ensure that the future is built in Britain.
Fourthly, ahead of the next General Election, Labour will set out more of our plans to tackle emissions in every sector of the economy to accelerate to net zero – from homes and buildings, to transport, agriculture, industry and business.
We will also turn the tide of destruction of our natural environment, protecting and restoring nature at scale across the country. This will be underscored by a net zero and nature test on all government spending under a Labour government.
By doing this, we can unleash the benefits of the transition sooner – from lower bills to energy security, jobs and economic growth – while limiting the worst effects of climate change. Labour will protect our natural environment and support our rural and coastal communities to thrive in every nation of the UK. Labour will deliver our nation’s food security and tackle and reverse nature’s decline in every part of the country to cut carbon emissions and accelerate to net zero.
Labour has a strong environmental legacy – from creating National Parks to opening up access to nature in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. We will take this further, growing nature-rich habitats like wetlands and forests – as the Welsh Labour government has done – for families to explore and wildlife to thrive, taking biodiversity off life-support. Our Clean Air Act will help neighbourhoods in our towns and cities become healthier, cleaner and greener.
Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan is the vehicle through which we will turn Britain’s economy around, it is at the heart of another of Labour’s missions, to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.
Strategic, responsible public investment is at the heart of this plan. Labour will get our economy back on track by supporting the industries of the future — working in partnership with business and trade unions — creating real energy security and cutting energy bills.
There is a global race for the jobs of the future and Britain under the Tories is losing that race: UK business could capture a global market share in new industries worth £1 trillion by 2030, but we are being left behind: in the months since the IRA passed, clean energy companies have announced over 100,000 new jobs across 31 US states with investments totalling $89.5 billion.
To not invest in the future of our prosperity and security would be reckless and irresponsible. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimated that delaying action until after 2030 increases debt to GDP by 23 ppt over the long term, equivalent to hundreds of billions and potentially trillions in extra debt.
Failing to act leads to national debt almost tripling, soaring to 289 per cent of GDP. We will invest in Britain’s future, reaching a total of £28 billion a year in the second half of the parliament at the latest. This investment will provide huge benefits for Britain, cutting bills, creating jobs and delivering energy security. We will do this in a way that meets our fiscal rules, reducing debt as a share of our economy.
Labour’s plan will back the builders not the blockers through reform of the planning system. It will accelerate grid connections, build the robust supply chains we need and skill our workforce, while ensuring the taxpayer gets value for money.