Labour Party announce plans to re-build and re-wire Britain

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool today, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves spoke about Labour’s plans to ‘re-build’ and ‘re-wire’ Britain, while highlighting the current Governments’ failings in both these areas.

On finishing her speech, a video message from former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney was played, in which he praises Ms Reeves as ‘a serious economist,’ saying: ‘She began her career at the Bank of England, so she understands the big picture. But, crucially she also understands the economics of work, of place and of family. It is beyond time to put her ideas and energy into action.’

In discussing how Labour plans to get Britain building again, she refers to the plight of the energy grid: ‘Today, new developments are being forced to wait up to 15 years – until the late 2030s – to connect to the grid: £200bn worth of projects stuck in limbo.’

She promised to open up new grid construction to competitive tendering and, ‘because the British people should own a stake in their energy system’  that publicly owned Great British Energy will be among the bidders.

Labour will also expand local authorities’ planning capacity, to speed up decisions.

She describes Labour’s plans as a ‘once in a generation set of reforms, to accelerate the building of critical infrastructure for energy, transport and housing, to fast-track battery factories, life sciences and 5G infrastructure – the things we need to succeed in the decades to come and to tackle the litigation which devours time and money before we even see shovels in the ground. And to make sure that when a local community hosts national infrastructure, they will feel the benefits, including through lower energy bills.’

Among those quick to respond to Reeves’ speech was Philippa Spence, UK Managing Director of Ramboll, who said: ‘Rachel Reeves’ proposals to ‘get Britain building again’ and ‘rewire Britain’ to improve energy grid access will enable growth but also the transition to a green economy, an imperative that has been damaged by the government’s vacillation on green policies. Her announcement of once in a generation reforms to accelerate the construction of critical infrastructure for technology, transport and energy will trigger green skills development and job creation at scale, and give the UK the chance to become a world leader in these areas.

‘The Government’s recent rollback on green regulation has created challenges across industry, from pushing out the transition to EVs to 2035 to slowing the phase-out of gas boilers and the roll-back on energy efficient rental properties. Each of these changes send terrible signals to industry of all kinds – both to the sectors that we serve, and our own as well. By contrast, Labour’s clear commitment to the green transition is a welcome reassurance to businesses committed to delivering this.

‘Moves to speed up planning for critical infrastructure and for priority areas like battery factories, which will be essential for decarbonisation, will be welcomed across industry. Expediting planning is also helpful. It remains to be seen what this will mean in practice, but these are positive announcements.’

Dr Ashok Sinha, CEO at Ashden said: ‘We warmly welcome such commitment. The action taken globally between now and 2030 will determine whether stay below 1.5 degrees C of warming, so the actions of next parliament will be definitive when it comes to the UK’s decarbonisation in line with this.’

‘Certainty around decarbonisation targets is essential for businesses investment, and Ashden calls for this to be accompanied by immediate investment in vocational education to address the growing skills gap in the workforce needed to deliver the clean energy transition. In particular, there is an urgent need to tackle the construction skills crisis, so that new low carbon homes can be delivered and our existing drafty housing stock made energy efficient.’


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