Labour teases new ‘green prosperity plan’ to pair net-zero and levelling up

Image: GMB

The confirmation came as Starmer gave a keynote speech at trade union GMB this morning. The opposition leader has faced calls to set out how, exactly, his party would support workers in the energy industry amid the net-zero transition, after he stated that a Labour Government would end all new North Sea oil and gas licenses.

Starmer told GMB’s annual congress in Harrogate that his party would produce a “proper industrial strategy” that would both secure the UK’s place on the global stage and create quality jobs domestically.

“Our allies around the democratic world are waking up to the threat of energy insecurity and the opportunity of economic security,” Starmer said.

“For too long, Britain has allowed the opportunities of the new energy technologies to pass us by. Without a plan, the energy industries we rely on will wither and decline.

“The Tories think it’s the market doing its job when British industry falls behind. It’s not some glitch in their model – it is the model.”

This is clearly a dig at the UK Government’s failure to produce its own rival to new multi-billion-dollar cleantech subsidy schemes in the US and the UK. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated at the Budget this year that the UK’s response will not be ready until this autumn at the earliest. The UK’s largest business group has previously warned that the nation risks squandering £4.3bn of opportunity this decade without a clearer plan to be a competitor on the global cleantech stage.

Starmer stated that “the tide has turned” globally, with nations increasingly seeing the low-carbon transition not as an economic burden but as a means to grow their economies and to contribute to social equality.  He argued that the UK Government will need to “bend and shape growth” to support both working people and the net-zero transition.

To outline its vision for shaping growth in the UK, Labour will publish a new ‘Green Prosperity Plan’ next week. The Party has already stated an ambition to create 500,000 new green jobs this decade in the energy sectors alone, and this Plan will add more detail on delivery.

Starmer said: “President Biden once said ‘when I hear climate change, I think jobs’. When Labour sets out its mission for Britain to become a clean energy superpower next week, we are thinking jobs too.”

Starmer has reportedly come under pressure from senior Labour figures to change the party’s plans for spending £28bn on the low-carbon transition. Shadow ministers have asked for some of the funds to be allocated to transport and housing projects, with benefits that would not strictly be environmental, to appeal to voters amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Time will tell whether the new plan changes the spending direction of the Party in this regard.

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