Ed Miliband has written to Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy, urges him to “stand up to the free-market zealots” and promises Labour’s support for further green initiatives.
19 July 2010
Dear secretary of state,
I am deeply concerned by the decisions you have taken in your first few months in office. After helping to lead the debate in changing the balance of our economy in a more sustainable direction, you are now turning your back on green industry and risk undermining the UK’s growing reputation around the world for leadership in this field.
Green Investment Bank
Last week there were deeply worrying reports that you were going to scrap Labour’s Green Investment Bank after rows with the treasury. Our proposal aimed to use £1 billion of public capital derived from asset sales, with a matching £1 billion from the private sector, to help bring the required finance into offshore wind projects and other low carbon infrastructure.
Without public capital from asset sales the bank will be a hollow PR gimmick unable to support green industry.
The test of your green credentials is whether you can stand up to George Osborne and keep our plans for the Green Investment Bank.
Cutting support for green industries
On 5 July you announced support for UK offshore wind technology. But a week later you announced you are slashing funding for new projects by a third. You have also refused to support Labour’s £60m competition for ports which is vital to attracting major offshore wind companies to Britain.
This leaves your policy on renewables in complete chaos. You give with one hand but take with the other. We are the world leader in offshore wind thanks to Labour, but this vital industry needs support.
Last week you also announced that the Carbon Trust will receive a huge cut in funding for low carbon technology and business support. You have called for a clean energy revolution but we need British business to be at the forefront of this revolution. Cutting support for clean energy projects is a disaster for British business.
The test of your green credentials is whether you can provide proper support to a valuable British industry which the market would otherwise not back.
Labour’s policies helped to attract four of the world’s major wind turbine manufacturers to locate in this country. Toyota and Nissan are building the first European hybrid and all-electric car and electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants here. We assisted some of Britain’s most dynamic home-grown low carbon businesses – from nuclear engineering to cable manufacture, from marine energy technology to aerospace. Under our proposals we anticipated that an additional 400,000 jobs in the low carbon sector would be created by 2015, taking the total figure to well over 1.2 million.
Do you have a target – and if not, why not?
I welcome the fact you are pushing for tough emissions cuts on a global level but your actions at home actions including scrapping the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters completely undermine your case. The government is behaving exactly like the banks it likes to criticise for favouring finance over industry.
You claimed to be the ‘greenest government ever’ but so far you are turning your back on green jobs and green industry. I urge to stand up to the free-market zealots and keep our plans for an active government to shift our economy towards growth where the planet no longer pays the price.
I am urging you to think again. You will have our support if you do.
Ed Miliband MP