'National missions for national renewal': Keir Starmer promises to make the UK a 'clean energy superpower'

'National missions for national renewal': Keir Starmer
promises to make the UK a 'clean energy superpower'
'National missions for national renewal': Keir Starmer promises to make the UK a 'clean energy superpower'

Opposition leader unveils five core missions that will shape the next Labour manifesto, including pledge to deliver a zero emission power system by 2030

Labour leader Keir Starmer has today reiterated the Opposition's plans to place climate action at the heart of its economic strategy, confirming that a commitment to turn the UK into a 'clean energy superpower' will form one of the key planks of the party's next manifesto.

Speaking at an event in Manchester this morning, the Opposition leader unveiled five overarching "missions" for the next Labour government that would deliver a "relentless focus on a clear set of priorities", promising to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7, build an NHS fit for the future, make Britain's streets safe, break down barriers to opportunity, and make Britain a clean energy superpower.

"These missions will form the backbone of the Labour manifesto - the pillars of the next Labour government," he said. "They will be measurable, so we can track progress and be held to account."

He highlighted how Labour's plans for the green economy provided a working example of the new approach, explaining that the overarching commitment to create a clean energy superpower had been translated into a specific target to deliver a zero carbon electricity system by 2030.

"Make no mistake - this goal would turn Britain into a clean energy superpower," he said. "It puts us ahead of any major economy in the world… And look - I'm already talking to CEOs, investors, entrepreneurs, unions, energy workers about how we get this done. The conversation always starts with a shake of the head: 'This is a bit much, Keir. Clean electricity by 2030 will be going some'. But when I tell them: 'Here's the ambition, here's the plan and here's the opportunity for you, that there is a powerful urgency to make it happen'."

He added that the target would then be backed by a raft of measures to deliver cheaper bills, enhance energy security, and enact "an industrial strategy that can win the race for jobs, in the green industries of the future". 

"Each of our five missions will contain this formula: a measurable goal; the building blocks of a clear strategy; and the first steps of a credible, long-term plan," he said. "First steps like, the insulation of 19 million homes. Like training for people to be heat pump fitters, builders, engineers, electricians. Like GB energy - a new British company - that will supercharge our drive for cleaner energy.  And, taken together - lay a new foundation for prosperity in every community."

He said the new green growth plan would feed into a wider economic strategy designed to bring an end to over a decade of sluggish growth, promising action to reform apprenticeships and benefits, deliver a modern childcare system, overhaul planning, and remove barriers to investment right across the country.

"All around the world, countries are gearing up for an almighty race for the opportunities of tomorrow," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to the new green subsidy packages being introduced on both sides of the Atlantic. "Britain must be on the start line - not back in the changing room tying its laces."

And he sought to contrast Labour's approach with the economic track record of the government, again accusing the Conservative Party of embracing a "sticking plaster politics" that is at the heart of all the UK's current economic problems.

"The pattern is always the same," he said. "Distracted by the short-term obsessions that fixate Westminster. Held back by a cynicism which uses low trust in politics as an excuse to narrow our ambitions. Blinkered to the potential of an active government setting the direction. We lurch from crisis to crisis. Always reacting, always behind the curve. A sticking plaster, never a cure."

The speech follows Starmer's address to the NFU Conference earlier this week in which he promised that a Labour government would step up support for sustainable farming practices and address the post Brexit trade barriers that have hit the sector hard in recent years.

It also comes in the same week as the government has sought to showcase its renewed commitment to the green economy, unveiling new plans to boost support for energy intensive industries and push through reforms to fast track planning approvals for large infrastructure developments, including the UK's growing pipeline of new offshore wind farm projects.

Today Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps set out his priorities for the new department, confirming a goal to deliver the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe by 2035, enabled by a major investment programme in new offshore wind farms and nuclear power plants that would create "hundreds of thousands of green jobs in the process".

* This article was originally published here