‘No time to waste’: Labour’s Cabinet ministers announce aim to bolster the UK’s energy transition

Image: Rachel Reeves, Chancellor, at 11 Downing Street

Last Friday (5 July), Prime Minister Keir Starmer announced his Cabinet shortly after his Party won the general election by a landslide. Labour claimed more than 400 seats as the Tories lost more than 240.

Today (8 July), Reeves, the UK’s first female Chancellor has promised to kickstart the economy and “restore stability in an age of insecurity,” in her first speech to the HM Treasury staff.

She said: “I know what a responsibility this brings – to guide our economy through uncertain times…but it also means taking on new challenges and new responsibilities.

“To meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future – including our energy transition.

“That is why this Treasury will play its full part in a new era of industrial strategy.”

The Labour Government has committed to decarbonising the electricity grid by 2030. The Party’s manifesto stipulates that this will be possible by supporting new large-scale and small nuclear projects, quadrupling the nation’s offshore wind capacity, trebling solar capacity and doubling onshore wind capacity this decade.

This is equivalent to scaling the UK’s generation capacity for offshore wind to around 60 gigawatts (GW), onshore wind to 30GW and solar to 32GW.

Reeves had previously committed to unlocking £28bn of investment each year; however, the commitment was watered down earlier this year with Reeves placing the blame at the feet of the Tories.

Labour is now targeting £7.3bn for priority green manufacturing sectors, plus three times more private investment in these industries, as part of a forthcoming industrial strategy and a ten-year infrastructure strategy.

Reeves added: “I have been a Member of Parliament for fourteen years now. And if I’m honest, I’ve spent a lot of those years frustrated. Talking, not doing.

“So as far as I’m concerned, there is no time to waste.”

UK’s foreign strategy

Concurrently, Foreign Secretary David Lammy has outlined his priorities for the next Parliament, stating intentions to work closely with the EU on climate and the Europe’s clean energy transition.

He said: “Britain has enormous potential. But the world faces huge challenges…[including] a climate emergency.

“This Government will reconnect Britain for our security and prosperity at home. We will begin with a reset with Europe, on climate and with the global South.

The UK is currently in a signed offshore energy agreement with key EU nations to accelerate renewable deployment in the North Seas, which was signed during ex-Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Government. This agreement aims to improving the reliability and access to electricity imports and exports.

Lammy added: “[We will begin] a gear-shift when it comes to delivering on European security, global security and British growth.”

Related article: Cabinet reshuffle: Who are Kier Starmer’s picks for the UK’s green economy?

Related feature: At a glance: What has the new Labour Government pledged on energy, climate and nature?

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