Economy and Energy
This election is about the crisis of living standards and the climate and environmental emergency. Whether we are ready or not, we stand on the brink of unstoppable change.
We must confront this change while dealing with the growing inequality and insecurity in Britain. Labour led the UK Parliament in declaring a climate and environmental emergency. The next Labour government will lead the world in fighting it, with a plan to drive up living standards by transforming our economy into one low in carbon, rich in good jobs, radically fairer and more democratic.
The climate crisis ties us all into a common fate. This election is our best hope to protect future generations from an uninhabitable planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030 to have a chance of keeping global heating within safe limits – that means acting now, and acting decisively.
The Tories wasted a decade serving the interests of big polluters. Labour will use the crucial next decade to act. The Tories slashed support for renewable energy while pushing through dangerous fracking.
Now Britain is decades off course on vital emissions targets.
That’s why Labour will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature. Our Green New Deal aims to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 in a way that is evidence-based, just and that delivers an economy that serves the interests of the many, not the few.
Just as the original Industrial Revolution brought industry, jobs and pride to our towns, Labour’s world-leading Green Industrial Revolution will rebuild them, with more rewarding, well-paid jobs, lower energy bills and whole new industries to revive parts of our country that have been neglected for too long. For some, industrial transition has become a byword for devastation, because successive Conservative governments were content to sit back and leave the fate of whole industries and communities at the mercy of market forces. A Labour government will never let that happen.
We will work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions in every sector of our economy, so that they lead the transition in their industries, creating new, good-quality jobs and making sure that their extensive skills are passed on to the next generation of workers.
We will show the world how prioritising sustainability will not only deliver immediate improvements to everyone’s lives but also offer humanity a pathway to a more equitable and enlightened economy: one that protects our environment, reins in corporate power, revitalises democracy, unites our communities, builds international solidarity and promises a better quality of life for all. The scale of the challenge requires nothing less.
Tackling the destruction of our planet is a question of justice – for the communities at home and abroad who are most affected by it and for our children who will bear the consequences if we don’t. Social justice will define Labour’s approach. We will make sure that the costs of the green transition fall fairly and are mostly borne by the wealthy and those most responsible for the problem.
2019 saw the blossoming of a global movement calling on politicians to wake up and act on the climate and environmental emergency. Labour welcomed that movement and, as a government in waiting, we have turned its demands into detailed, credible plans for real change.
Delivering the far-reaching change needed to tackle the climate and environmental emergency will require a full mobilisation of national resources, both public and private.
Labour will create a Sustainable Investment Board to bring together the Chancellor, Business Secretary and Bank of England Governor to oversee, co-ordinate and bring forward this investment – involving trade unions and business. We will ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to incorporate climate and environmental impacts into its forecasts so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every fiscal decision.
The cost of not acting is far greater than the cost of acting. We will launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets – and that the costs of not acting are fully accounted for too. Of this, £250 billion will directly fund the transition through a Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration.
We will create a National Investment Bank, backed up by a network of Regional Development Banks, to provide £250 billion of lending for enterprise, infrastructure and innovation over 10 years. They will be mandated to lend in line with our mission to decarbonise our economy while increasing productivity and creating good jobs across the country. As well as large-scale national and regional projects, smaller loans will be available through our new Post Bank based in Post Office branches, enabling thousands of bottom-up transformational changes by start-ups, small businesses, local co-operatives and community projects in towns and villages up and down the country.
We will make sure that the UK’s financial sector is helping to tackle the emergency rather than fuelling it. We will do this by improving the fitness of our financial authorities to mobilise green investment and by giving them powers to manage the risk to financial stability posed by short-sighted investment in polluting assets.
Just 100 companies globally are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions. We won’t be afraid to tackle this wanton corporate destruction by taking on the powerful interests that are causing climate change. We will change the criteria a company must meet to be listed on the London Stock Exchange so that any company that fails to contribute to tackling the climate and environmental emergency is delisted.
Levelling Up Across the Country
Many parts of Britain would need this investment even without a climate and environmental emergency. Years of under-investment and neglect by Westminster have left too many communities feeling powerless and too many areas left behind with low- quality jobs, weak productivity and slow growth.
The climate and environmental emergency is a chance to unite the country to face this common challenge by mobilising all our national resources, both financial and human. But we will only succeed by ensuring that everyone shares in the benefits. Labour will make sure that investment is spread evenly across the whole country and will give powers and funding to every region and nation of the UK.
We will bring about a radical decentralisation of power in Britain so that local people and communities are given far greater control over their own lives and prospects.
A Local Transformation Fund in each English region will be used exclusively to fund infrastructure projects decided at a local level, as will devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our Regional Development Banks will be governed by boards made up of key local stakeholders such as local chambers of commerce, trade unions and councillors – with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland empowered to make similar arrangements. They will set priorities for lending, giving every region and nation a new and powerful lever to rebuild their economy on their own terms.
We will shift the political centre of gravity by placing the National Transformation Fund Unit, a key part of the Treasury, in the North of England and build up the regional offices of government in each of the nine English regions to co-ordinate government policies at the regional level, as well as ensuring a regional voice in Whitehall.
Energy use in buildings accounts for 56% of the UK’s total emissions, making it the single most polluting sector. We will develop the recommendations of our ‘30 by 2030’ report to put the UK on track for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s – and go faster if credible pathways can be found. We will deliver nearly 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030.
We will build:
- 7,000 new offshore wind turbines
- 2,000 new onshore wind turbines
- Enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches.
- New nuclear power needed for energy security.
We will trial and expand tidal energy and invest to reduce the costs of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production. We will upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, reducing the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030 and eliminating fuel poverty. We will introduce a zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes.
As part of heat decarbonisation, we will roll out technologies like heat pumps, solar hot water and hydrogen, and invest in district heat networks using waste heat.
To balance the grid, we will expand power storage and invest in grid enhancements and interconnectors.
We will expand distributed and community energy, and immediately and permanently ban fracking.
We will support energy workers through transition and guarantee them retraining and a new, unionised job on equivalent terms and conditions.
We will introduce a windfall tax on oil companies, so that the companies that knowingly damaged our climate will help cover the costs. We will provide a strategy to safeguard the people, jobs and skills that depend on the offshore oil and gas industry.
We will not achieve the promise of a fair and sustainable economy if we repeat the mistakes of the carbon era, when the capture of a natural resource for private profit created a vastly unequal and polluting economy dominated by powerful vested interests.
It’s not just carbon. From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a poor regulator for use of our natural resources.
Whether it is the trillions of litres of water lost through leakages, barriers to renewable energy connecting to the grid or the billions of pounds of bill-payers’ money being siphoned off in dividends to wealthy shareholders, Tory privatisation of our utilities has been a disaster for both our planet and our wallets.
We will put people and planet before profit by bringing our energy and water systems into democratic public ownership. In public hands, energy and water will be treated as rights rather than commodities, with any surplus reinvested or used to reduce bills. Communities themselves will decide, because utilities won’t be run from Whitehall but by service-users and workers.
Public ownership will secure democratic control over nationally strategic infrastructure and provide collective stewardship for key natural resources.
In the case of energy, it will also help deliver Labour’s ambitious emissions targets. Whereas private network companies have failed to upgrade the grid at the speed and scale needed, publicly owned networks will accelerate and co-ordinate investment to connect renewable and low-carbon energy while working with energy unions to support energy workers through the transition.
Under Labour’s plans:
- A new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of our decarbonisation targets.
- 14 new Regional Energy Agencies will replace the existing district network operators and hold statutory responsibility for decarbonising electricity and heat and reducing fuel poverty.
- The supply arms of the Big Six energy companies will be brought into public ownership where they will continue to supply households with energy while helping them to reduce their energy demands.
The Conservatives allowed the proceeds of North Sea oil to be squandered on tax cuts for the richest and captured in profits for the few, instead of investing them in our future. We now stand at an even greater crossroads in the development of our national economy. Under Labour, our green future will be owned by all of us.
Whenever public money is invested in an energy generation project, the public sector will take a stake and return profits to the public.
Industry and Innovation
Averting climate catastrophe offers huge economic opportunities.
But Britain will only benefit from a Green Industrial Revolution with the right policies.
Over the past three decades, Britain has reduced its emissions at the expense of domestic industry by offshoring production. This is an accounting trick, not a solution. It does not protect the climate, is unfair to other countries and it damages jobs and communities at home.
Labour will take full responsibility for our carbon footprint instead of passing the buck. We will instruct the Committee on Climate Change to assess the emissions the UK imports as well as those it produces, and recommend policies to tackle them, including making UK industry the greenest in the world.
The Conservatives have presided over a lost decade of productivity and allowed Britain to fall behind in the green technologies of the future. Labour will make sure this never happens again.
Targeted science, research and innovation will be crucial to tackling the climate crisis, dealing with the plastic waste filling our oceans and addressing other societal challenges, such as an ageing population and antibiotic resistance. As part of our plan to usher in a Green Industrial Revolution, Labour will create an innovation nation, setting a target for 3% of GDP to be spent on research and development (R&D) by 2030. We will achieve this target by increasing direct support for R&D and reforming the innovation ecosystem to better ‘crowd in’ private investment.
We will establish a Foundation Industries Sector Council to provide a clean and long-term future for our existing heavy industries like steel and glass and fund R&D into newer technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
A thriving steel industry will be vital to the Green Industrial Revolution. Labour will support our steel through public procurement, taking action on industrial energy prices, exempting new capital from business rates, investing in R&D, building three new steel recycling plants and upgrading existing production sites.
We will ensure that new technologies aren’t just invented here, but are engineered, manufactured and exported from here. We will put British innovation at the heart of our procurement to support local sourcing and reshoring, so that every investment we make strengthens our manufacturing and engineering sectors and supply chains and creates hundreds of thousands of good, unionised jobs here at home.
We will use the power of public procurement to strengthen local jobs and supply chains and will require all companies bidding for public contracts to recognise trade unions, pay suppliers on time and demonstrate equalities best practice.
As we transition, we will ensure the UK’s automotive sector isn’t left behind by the electric revolution by investing in three new gigafactories and four metal reprocessing plants. By supporting UK-made electrical steel we will ensure robust support for an end to end UK supply chain. We’ll also take on the global plastics crisis by investing in a new plastics remanufacturing industry creating thousands of jobs, ending exports of plastic waste and reducing our contribution to ocean pollution.
Labour’s progressive trade strategy will be aligned with our industrial strategy to help develop the industrial base needed to deliver high-quality exports and the decent jobs that go with them.
Labour will champion exports from the environmental goods and services sector, building on the 300,000 jobs that the sector already sustains. We will uphold the highest environmental and social regulations in all our trade relations, and will never downgrade standards as ‘barriers’ to trade.
Our Green Industrial Revolution will create at least one million well-paid, unionised jobs in the UK. We will train people in the skills they need to access these jobs of the future.
Britain’s skills crisis has grown under the Tories. The Apprenticeship Levy has been beset by problems, leaving employers paying into a training budget they are unable to spend. And it is not delivering for small businesses. We cannot afford to carry on like this.
Labour will make it easier for employers to spend the levy by allowing it to be used for a wider range of accredited training, in line with guidelines set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and government’s wider priorities for the economy.
We will launch a Climate Apprenticeship programme to enable employers to develop the skills needed to lead the world in clean technology.
Under this programme, employers will be expected to allocate 25% of the funds in their Apprenticeship Levy accounts to training Climate Apprentices. These funds can be spent directly or allocated to a ring-fenced Climate Apprenticeship Fund, which will be topped up with any surplus raised through Inclusive Ownership Funds and made accessible to non-levy-paying businesses.
Targeted bursaries will be available to women, BAME people, care leavers, ex-armed forces personnel, and people with disabilities to encourage them to take up climate apprenticeships – the STEM of the future.
We will further help small businesses by increasing the amount that can be transferred to non-levy-paying employers to 50% and introducing an online matching service to help levy-paying businesses find smaller businesses to transfer their funds to.
Labour will build a sustainable, affordable, accessible and integrated transport system, founded on the principle that transport is an essential public service.
Cutting emissions will drive our transport policies. We will review public expenditure on transport to ensure that it promotes environmental sustainability and contributes to decarbonisation.
Bus services have been devastated by the Conservatives, despite carrying more people than any other mode of public transport. Women are especially dependent on buses, which also provide a lifeline for both older and younger people and for many economically disadvantaged groups.
Labour will ensure that councils can improve bus services by regulating and taking public ownership of bus networks, and we will give them resources and full legal powers to achieve this cost-effectively, thereby ending the race to the bottom in working conditions for bus workers. Where councils take control of their buses, Labour will introduce free bus travel for under-25s. We will increase and expand local services, reinstating the 3,000 routes that have been cut, particularly hitting rural communities.
Labour will deliver improvements for rail passengers by bringing our railways back into public ownership, using options including franchise expiry. This will enable us to make fares simpler and more affordable, rebuild the fragmented railways as a nationally integrated public service, cut the wastage of private profit, improve accessibility for disabled people, ensure safe staffing levels and end driver-only operation.
Our publicly owned rail company will steer network planning and investments. It will co-ordinate mainline upgrades, resignalling, rolling stock replacement and major projects. We will implement a full, rolling programme of electrification.
Our model will ensure continuity of skills, jobs and supply chain capacity to reduce costs, improve productivity and support the economic benefits of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution.
We will introduce a long-term investment plan including delivering Crossrail for the North as part of improved connectivity across the northern regions. We will consult with local communities to reopen branch lines. We will also unlock capacity and extend high-speed rail networks nationwide by completing the full HS2 route to Scotland, taking full account of the environmental impacts of different route options. We will deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including in Wales. We will ensure that these major infrastructure projects are a model of good employment practice and pay due regard to the environmental impact.
We will promote the use of rail freight in order to reduce carbon emissions, air pollutants and congestion on the roads and expand the provision of publicly owned rail freight services.
We will increase the funding available for cycling and walking. We will bring together transport and land-use planning to create towns and cities in which walking and cycling are the best choice: safe, accessible, healthy, efficient, economical and pollution-free. We will help children’s health and well-being by ensuring street designs provide freedom for physically active outdoor play and by introducing measures to ensure the zones around our schools are safer, with cleaner air.
Our transport programme is focused on creating better, publicly accessible local transport systems. By improving public transport, Labour will help people to become less reliant on their cars, for our better health, for a cleaner environment and to improve quality of life in our towns and cities. The Conservatives have committed to ending new sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2040. Labour will aim for 2030.
We will position the UK at the forefront of the development and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles and will support their sale. We will invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in electric community car clubs. We will accelerate the transition of our public sector car fleets and our public buses to zero-emissions vehicles.
We will reform taxi and private hire services, including a review of licensing authority jurisdictions, setting national minimum standards of safety and accessibility and updating regulations to keep pace with technological change and to close loopholes to ensure a level playing field.
We will adopt an ambitious Vision Zero approach to UK road safety, striving for zero deaths and serious injuries. Labour will invest to make our neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users. We will review all tolled crossings.
Labour recognises the Davies Commission’s assessment of pressures on airport capacity in the South East. Any expansion of airports must pass our tests on air quality, noise pollution, climate change obligations and countrywide benefits. We will examine fiscal and regulatory options to ensure a response to the climate crisis in a way that is fair to consumers and protects the economy.
We will take action to end nationality-based discrimination in seafarer pay.
A Labour government’s Green Industrial Revolution is complemented by our Plan for Nature. Our commitments to ecosystem repair and environmental protections work hand in hand with sustainable jobs and industries, and social justice.
We are facing a climate and environment emergency, and unlike the Tories we will not trade our environment in pursuit of reckless trade agreements.
Labour will review and improve protected area designations, from National Parks to local nature reserves and urban green spaces.
We will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection.
We will maintain and continuously improve the existing EU standards of environmental regulation.
A Healthy Environment
Our polluted air contributes to over 40,000 premature deaths a year and poisons our environment, with further impacts on children’s health. But the Conservatives’ air-quality measures are so inadequate they have been found to be illegal.
Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones, complying with World Health Organisation limits for fine particles and nitrous oxides.
We will provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands that have been neglected by Conservative investments.
Our Plan for Nature will set legally binding targets to drive the restoration of species and habitats.
We will embark on an ambitious programme of tree planting, with both forestry and native woodland species.
We will fully fund the Environment Agency and other frontline environment agencies, and improve upstream river management.
We will create new National Parks alongside a revised system of other protected area designations, which will guard existing wildlife sites and join up important habitats, while also ensuring more people can enjoy living closer to nature.
We will establish a new environmental tribunal to ensure that administrative decisions are consistent with environmental and nature-recovery obligations.
Land is a public good, but it is not a common asset. In 1979, 20% of land was owned by the public sector. Today, that has halved. Green Belts protect one tenth of our land and offer conservation of some of our natural environment. Introduced by Labour in 1947 to provide access to the countryside, they are threatened by developments.
A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.
We will invest in more county farms to replace those lost, and will work with agricultural organisations to increase access into farming for new entrants.
A quarter of all food purchased is wasted every year, equivalent to over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, costing over £20 billion.
Yet Britain has an epidemic in food-related ill health, obesity, malnutrition and diabetes, as well as increased food insecurity – with a boom in food bank use and record levels of hunger.
Labour will introduce A Right to Food. We will end ‘food bank Britain’. We will ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, sustainably produced food.
We will halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years. We will establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act. We will make food security a reason to intervene in the economy and work with local councils to minimise food waste.
We will put farmers, fishers, food producers and workers at the heart of our plans for delivering healthy food locally. We will support local food networks, expand access to farm holdings and ensure rights of union representation for all food and agricultural workers. We will re-establish an Agricultural Wages Board in England so every part of the UK is covered.
We will set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and, if people vote to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.
We aim to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.
Waste and Recycling
Waste, including plastic waste, pollutes our land and seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food.
We will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing. In government in Wales, Labour has transformed the position of recycling, placing them in the top five globally for recycling rates. A UK Labour government will learn from Wales’ example, and will also back bottle-return schemes.
We will invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with a proud history of steel manufacturing.
The Conservatives will sacrifice animal welfare standards in trade deals with other countries. They threaten to bring back fox hunting and are pursuing the ineffective badger cull – the largest destruction of a protected species in living memory.
Labour has published an ambitious animal welfare manifesto which reiterates our commitments to prohibit foxhunting and end the cull of badgers.
In England, we will introduce an animal welfare commissioner, prohibit the sale of snares and glue traps, end the badger cull and ban the keeping of primates as pets. We will work internationally to end commercial whaling, ban the importation of hunting trophies of threatened species, and boost police resources to tackle rural and wildlife crime.