Labour launches Industrial Strategy consultation

The Labour Party has today (5 January) launched a consultation with businesses, trade unions and the public about the priorities of its proposed Industrial Strategy.

Launched by Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Shadow Secretary Clive Lewis and Shadow Industrial Strategy Minister Chi Onwurah, the six-week consultation includes sustainability as a main objective to reach a “prosperous” and “competitive” low-carbon economy.  

The document seeks contributions on how to achieve productivity based on a transition towards reduced energy consumption, green innovation, a balanced energy policy, and meeting the goals set under the Paris Agreement.

Commenting on the consultation, Lewis said: “Last year I set out Labour’s vision for a high-skill, high-wage, high-productivity economy, and promised that Labour will work in partnership with business and trade unions to develop an Industrial Strategy that will bring good jobs to every corner of the country.

“This consultation will help us develop the specific policies and interventions to make this vision a reality. I urge everyone to get involved – together we can deliver an economy that is stronger, fairer, and sustainable.”

Radical plan

Labour’s proposals set out a plan to nurture ideas and new technologies that will tackle climate change, which is described as one of the “great challenges” that faces the country. It aims to drive innovation to accelerate a low-carbon transition through business investment, with the decarbonisation process labelled as the “largest mobilisation of capital the world has ever seen”.

Businesses dependent on fossil fuel industries cannot afford to “pay the price” of the low-carbon shift, the consultation states, calling for these companies to harness skills and knowledge to gain the advantage in decarbonising markets. Labour pledges to develop a radical plan to ensure that workers affected can retain high-quality jobs as carbon-intensive sectors are phased out.

The consultation also makes references to low-carbon transport and manufacturing; supply chain ethics and technologies such as energy storage and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“We need an Industrial Strategy to deliver the high-skill, high-wage economy the British people want,” said Onwurah. “Our Industrial Strategy will be challenge-led, mission-orientated, values-driven and reflect the contributions of stakeholders large and small.”

Labour of love?

The consultation follows a speech delivered by the Shadow Business Secretary last year, in which unveiled ambitious proposals to source 65% of the UK’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 and ramp up the rate of domestic energy efficiency programme.

During the Party’s recent Annual Conference, Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Barry Gardiner announced that a Labour Government would impose a full ban on shale gas exploration, insisting that fracking “locks” the country into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels “long after the UK needs to have moved to renewables”.

In September, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled the Party’s energy and environment manifesto, pledging to create a new £300m US-style energy research agency to help combat climate change. Corbyn also sought to turn the country into a world leader in green technology, immediately reinstate the recently-abolished Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and shut down all coal-fired power stations.

George Ogleby

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