Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to create a new publicly owned energy generation company if Labour wins the next election as he declares this is a “Labour moment” like 1997 and 1964.
Starmer said the new company would be called Great British Energy and that it would take “advantage of the opportunities in clean British power and because it’s right for jobs, because it’s right for growth, because it’s right for energy independence from tyrants like Putin”.
He said the company will be set up in the first year of a Labour government and a spokesperson for Starmer said the policy is about “introducing a new player into the market” that will secure the UK’s energy supply.
There will not be any nationalisation of any privately owned energy assets.
“Yes conference, Great British Energy will be publicly owned,” Starmer said to rapturous applause.
“We won’t make the mistake the Tories made with North Sea oil and gas back in the 1980s when they frittered away the wealth from our national resources. Just look at what’s happening at the moment. The largest onshore windfarm in Wales. Who owns it? Sweden. Energy bills in Swansea are paying for schools and hospitals in Stockholm.”
In a speech littered with around a dozen standing ovations, the Labour leader spoke about the series of crises the UK faces and claimed that “the Tory Party gave up on any claim it may have had to be a party of aspiration”, after its tax cuts last week.
The speech came after a new YouGov poll gave Labour a 17-point lead over the Tories yesterday and amid an increasing feeling within the party that they will win the next election.
Starmer said: “The government has lost control of the British economy – and for what? They’ve crashed the pound – and for what?
“Higher interest rates. Higher inflation. Higher borrowing. And for what? Not for you. Not for working people. For tax cuts for the richest 1% in our society.
“Don’t forget. Don’t forgive.”
The Labour leader said the party needs to be “prepared, disciplined, focused” over the next two years to win the next election.
“Meet their attacks with hope. Provide the leadership this country so desperately needs,” he said.
“Because as in 1945, 1964, 1997, this is a Labour moment. So, conference, say it loud and believe it. Britain will deal with the cost-of-living crisis. Britain will get its future back.
“A country where aspiration is rewarded. Where working people succeed. A force for good in the world. A clean energy superpower.”
The speech was warmly welcomed by British business trade groups.
New president of the Confederation of British Industry Brian McBridge said: “Against the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis, it’s welcome to hear Labour re-state its pro-business credentials and double down on a commitment to sustainable growth.
“Business shares Labour’s commitments to transform business rates, give firms greater flexibility over training and turn the UK into a green growth superpower; achieving this in partnership.”
The British Chambers of Commerce said: “The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) welcome the Labour party’s ambition to build British industry through its National Wealth Fund proposal, which puts a particular emphasis on energy and climate investments.
“Businesses thrive best when there is a long-term plan. The Shadow Chancellor’s announcement shows that Labour has a business plan for the future, with a strong commitment to investing in growth industries.