Labour conference

Sir Keir plans state-owned renewables company

Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria take in the applause

Sir Keir Starmer today announced that a Labour government would respond to the energy supply crisis by creating a publicly-owned renewable energy company.

The Labour leader said ‘Great British Energy’ would be modelled on France’s state-owned EDF and other firms owned by foreign states operating in the UK.

In a move echoing the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s ultimately aborted plans for a state-funded energy company, he said it would help develop renewables and underpin Britain’s energy security.

It would build new wind, wave and solar projects, and also invest in privately-owned renewable schemes.

Great British Energy would be independently operated and any profits would be reinvested, according to Labour sources, thereby growing market share.

EDF, which is owned by the French government, employs more than 10,,000 people in the UK.

“Labour will make sure that the public money we spend building-up British industry, spurs on private investment, stimulates growth … and the British people enjoy the returns,” said Sir Keir in his speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool.

“Labour won’t make the mistake the Tories made with North Sea oil and gas back in the 1980s. Where they frittered away the wealth from our national resources.”

He noted that the Chinese Communist Party has a stake in the UK’s nuclear industry and five million people in Britain pay their bills to an energy company owned by France.

Labour plans to finance the company through a new £8bn National Wealth Fund announced by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves on Monday.

The proposal falls short of calls from trade unions and the left wing of the party to nationalise the energy industry.

Sir Keir reiterated Labour’s refusal to work with the SNP and reaffirmed his party’s belief in the union.

“I do not believe in our union just because of our history. I believe in it because of our future,” he said.

“We cannot deal with them [the SNP]. We won’t work with them. No deal under any circumstances.”

Comment: Starmer’s newer Labour waits and wonders

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