Anas Sarwar has said he wants Scotland and the UK to “lead the world in the green revolution” as the Labour Party prepares to unveil its energy plans.
The Scottish Labour leader said that Great British Energy, a new, publicly owned clean energy company, would help realise that ambition.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Sarwar are due to announce more details about the party’s plans on Monday.
Sarwar told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “We want to use the strength of the UK treasury to legitimately deliver a green revolution in our country and our plans are rooted in four key principles, the first is more jobs not less jobs, second, lower bills not higher bills, third, greater energy security and less reliance on imports from despotic regimes like Russia and fourth is climate leadership.
“I want Scotland to lead the world and the UK to lead the world in the green revolution and that’s why through GBE, the Great British energy company, we will make those strategic investments to make sure we realise that ambition and that’s partly partnering with local authorities, devolved administrations as well as those larger-scale strategic investments so we can leverage in the industry, so we can deliver that transformation that’s good for the north east, good for Scotland and good for every party of the UK.”
It comes after Labour recently backtracked on its £28 billion green prosperity plan in a bid to underline its commitment to “financial stability”.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said drastic changes to the economic backdrop over the past two years meant the party’s full spending pledge should be delayed.
Labour had promised in 2021 to invest £28bn a year until 2030 in green projects if it came to power, but Reeves said that this figure would instead be a target to work towards in the second half of a first parliament.
Sarwar said that this move demonstrated the party was “being realistic about the economic circumstances we’re currently living in”.
He also said there would be “no cliff edge”, when asked about the party’s policy to ban new oil and gas extraction licences in the North Sea and whether it would lead to job losses.
Sarwar said: “There is not a suggestion of any cliff edge, there will be no cliff edge, there will be no turning off of the tap, we are clear that oil and gas will play a significant role in our energy industry for decades to come, what we’re talking about is building a strategic partnership in order to actually deliver the green revolution.”
He added: “We will honour all existing licences, any new licences that are issued between now and the next Labour government we will of course honour them as well because that’s important for the industry to make those investment decisions but also we don’t want to open up the UK Government to perhaps big compensation claims so what we’re talking about is building that genuine partnership for the transformation.”