Pledge to end North Sea exploration with clean energy firm, say Labour

A new publicly owned clean energy company would be based in Scotland, Sir Keir Starmer said.

Pledge to end North Sea oil and gas exploration with publicly owned clean energy firm, says Keir Starmer STV News

Thousands of jobs could be created in Scotland under a Labour proposal to create a publicly owned clean energy company and establish its headquarters north of the border, Sir Keir Starmer will say.

The Labour leader set out his proposal to launch Great British Energy (GBN) during his party conference speech in Liverpool last year as part of a strategy to turn the UK into a clean energy superpower.

Labour has confirmed it would “not grant licences to explore new fields” in the North Sea, which currently supports 200,000 UK jobs, including 90,000 in Scotland, according to trade body Offshore Energies UK.

He told attendees the company would be launched in the first year of a Labour government should the party win the next general election and has now revealed its headquarters would be based in Scotland.

Sir Keir is scheduled to expand on his party’s vision to deliver cheaper zero-carbon energy by 2030 during a joint statement alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on Monday.

The two leaders are expected to outline how Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan will deliver three key benefits for Scotland: building on Scotland’s energy and industrial history; doubling the number of jobs in low carbon sectors; and creating a clean power system by 2030 saving Scottish households £8.4bn in that time.

Sir Keir will say: “The route to making Britain a clean energy superpower, slashing energy bills and creating tens of thousands of quality jobs runs through Scotland.

“That is why GB Energy, our publicly owned energy company, will be headquartered in Scotland, the heart of the British energy industry.

“I mean it when I say that our energy plans will be made in Scotland – cutting energy bills for Scottish families and delivering the jobs and investment in Scottish communities that for far too long have been let down by the SNP and Conservatives.

“When it comes to capitalising on Scotland’s energy resources, for 15 years the SNP Government has chased the headlines but not done the work.

“Labour will deliver lower bills, good jobs, and energy security for Scotland and the whole UK, as Britain leads the world in the fight against climate change.”

Sarwar said: “I am determined to leave our children and future generations a better planet than we have now.

“But to do this, we need to sweep out both of our bad governments and deliver urgent action, because we are running out of time.

“What we are announcing today is the boldest energy plan Scotland and the whole UK has seen in generations – delivering a clean energy revolution by 2030.

“It will deliver 50,000 clean power jobs for Scotland and lower bills for working people.

“I’m delighted to announce it will also mean a publicly owned Great British Energy company – headquartered here in Scotland.

“GB Energy – backed by the strength of the UK Treasury – will make strategic investments to maximise our opportunities and bring jobs and prosperity to Scotland.

“A Labour government will unleash Scotland’s massive energy potential by making those strategic investments – that’s the change Scotland needs.”

SNP energy security and net zero spokesperson Alan Brown MP said: “Whether it’s the Tories or the pro-Brexit Labour Party, Westminster politicians have used Scotland as an energy cash cow for decades, so the pretence that they suddenly want to deliver a strategy for Scotland now is laughable.

“In Scotland, the damage of Westminster control is already done. Keir Starmer’s piecemeal proposal is too little, too late – and shows exactly why Scotland needs the full powers of independence.

“It has been decades of Westminster governments failing to properly harness Scotland’s immense energy resources that has left people across Scotland paying the price. Promising a GB Energy HQ doesn’t make up for decades of squandered oil and gas revenues.

“The SNP is serious about the transformative potential of green energy to Scotland’s success as part of a Just Transition – and the ambitious ScotWind project and the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition Fund attest to that. But we want to go further.

“Labour is pro-Brexit, while Scotland is not. That means a UK Labour government will continue to ignore the needs, interests and wishes of people across Scotland and actively pursue policy that harms our interests.

“It could not be clearer that Scotland needs the full powers of independence to properly deliver clean, green and affordable renewable energy for the benefit of people living and working here.”

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