The party’s leader, Nick Clegg, visited a former shipyard in Newcastle today (February 11) to announce a manifesto pledge to create 57,000 jobs by investing £400m in the scheme.

The proposals would, say the party, help firms to manufacture off-shore wind turbines in the UK, instead of seeing them built abroad ‘due to out-of-date’ facilities.

Mr Clegg believes British ports are ‘ideally’ located to host turbine manufacturers as they’re close to the coast, but they lack the funding to t carry out the work.

He said: “Our plans would act as a huge boost for Britain’s budding wind industry and create nearly 60,000 jobs in many shipyard cities where unemployment is a huge problem.

“New off-shore turbines, with blades the size of the London Eye, need to be built and launched from modern docks, so we need to upgrade our shipyards to take advantage of this massive opportunity.

“Expanding off-shore wind will create jobs but unless we act now, these jobs won’t be British jobs.”

Mr Clegg added it was a ‘scandal’ that 90% of the £1.75bn contract for a wind farm off the coast of Kent was going to foreign contractors, with the turbines being manufactured in Germany.

Greenpeace executive director, John Sauven, welcomed the announcement as the ‘kind of practical vision’ to bring Britain huge benefits.

He said: “Using shipyards to launch a fleet of offshore turbines could make Britain an international powerhouse in wind power, and create thousands of jobs.

“Cross-party support for plans like this would be an important boost to this emerging British industry.”

Luke Walsh

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