In recent weeks I have had many conversations with people across Sheffield Heeley about how tackling climate change is one of their priorities.
Firstly, I would like to make it clear that I believe that failure to invest in tackling climate change and therefore the future of our prosperity and security would be reckless and irresponsible. For far too long climate change has been viewed as tomorrow’s problem – an issue that will affect future generations. The urgency for action has become strikingly evident and I’m proud that Labour has put it at the centre of our agenda for government.
The quickest, cheapest and best answer for our national energy security is a green energy sprint. New renewables are nine times cheaper than gas. They would not only help fight the climate crisis, but also increase our energy security and sovereignty, bring down bills and create jobs.
In short, there is no response to the climate crisis that does not confront the problem of fossil fuel supply head on. Indeed, the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated in 2021 that delaying action on green investment until after 2030 would increase debt by 23 percentage points over the long term, equivalent to hundreds of billions and potentially trillions in extra debt. In 2023, it further stated that the failure of the Government to deliver the policies needed to reach net zero had increased this risk.
I can therefore assure you that I remain committed to massively ramping up investment in the green economy, reaching a total of £28 billion a year in the second half of the next Parliament at the latest. I believe that delivering this investment – within a framework of fiscal responsibility, reducing debt as a share of our economy, and providing time to build the supply chains and workforce skills we need – is vital to creating good jobs in the industries of the future, tackling crippling energy bills and securing our economy. It is also central to achieving the highest sustained growth in the G7, delivering jobs and productivity growth for all parts of the country.
I am incredibly proud of Labour’s plan to deliver a cheaper, zero-carbon electricity system by 2030. This would include establishing GB Energy – a new publicly-owned clean generation company – and quadrupling offshore wind, more than tripling solar power and more than doubling onshore wind capacity. Combined with plans to insulate 19 million homes, this could save households up to £1,400 a year on their energy bills.
And in my area of transport, I have been responsible for developing policy on improving charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, supporting the zero emission automotive sector with plans for new battery factories and plans to bring our trains and buses into public ownership so that people have the option to use public transport that is greener, cheaper and more accessible.
Protecting our environment and providing energy security, is one of, if not the most important issue we are facing today. I know that the decisions that we make now will have a significant impact on our future generations and can assure you I am taking this with utmost seriousness