“Let’s protect the people and the planet” – Miliband’s speech to conference

Ed Miliband

Below is the full text of the speech delivered to the Labour Party conference by Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband in Liverpool today.

Friends, I want to start by thanking my ministerial team Kerry McCarthy and Alan Whitehead, and I congratulate all the delegates who have spoken in this economic debate.

What we have heard is one guiding idea – Labour’s mission of an economy built by the many for the many. What a contrast with that extreme, trickle-down Tory Budget last week – for bankers and millionaires, a vision of an economy built by the few for the few. We owe it to the country to defeat this lot at the next general election.

Now we meet here amidst three emergencies. A cost-of-living and energy bills crisis affecting millions of families and businesses. An energy security crisis borne of a decade of Tory neglect and exposed by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. And the climate crisis which came to Britain this summer with our first ever 40-degree day.

These emergencies demand the boldest of leadership. These emergencies demand an energy policy for the people and the planet. I say these emergencies demand a Labour government.

Let’s start with energy bills. Labour led the way in January with the call for a windfall tax. Labour led the way in August with the call for an energy price freeze.

Now Liz Truss said she won’t have a windfall tax because she says it is a “Labour idea”. For the first time in recorded history, Liz Truss has got something exactly right. The windfall tax is a Labour idea.

Standing up to the big vested interests, the rich and powerful, so we can help the people of Britain in their moment of need. An energy policy for the people and the planet, not the oil and gas companies. Labour ideas, Labour values, Labour principles.

Now the crises we face might seem very different but they all come from one source; the climate and nature crisis is caused by our burning of fossil fuels. The energy bills crisis is caused by the fact we are exposed to the rollercoaster of fossil fuel prices wherever we get our gas from. And the crisis of energy security comes from the scramble for gas triggered by global events.

So all these crises have the same ultimate cause: our dependence on fossil fuels. And all of them have the same solution. Low-cost, homegrown zero carbon power. The price of solar and wind energy is nine times less than that of gas.

This is the defining truth of our age. This is the undeniable truth of our age. It is cheaper to save the planet than destroy it. That’s why for bills, for security and for climate, I am proud to announce a Labour government will make Britain the first major country in the world to set and achieve the target of zero-carbon power by 2030. The essential foundation of the drive to net zero.

Britain a clean energy superpower. Saving £93 billion off bills. And we will do it by sweeping away Tory dogma that is holding our country back. It is within our grasp. Isn’t it? Let’s hear it for doubling onshore wind, trebling solar power, quadrupling offshore wind, tidal power, nuclear, hydrogen power and all underpinned by the best investment we can make – £60bn over a decade to insulate 19 million cold, draughty homes, saving £1,000 off bills, cutting carbon emissions and led by our brilliant Labour local authorities.

That is what I mean by an energy policy for the people and the planet. Now can the Tories deliver it? Of course not. They tell us that after 12 years in power, after all their promises, after all their hot air, after four Tory Prime Ministers. They say, and I’m not making this up, “the energy system is broken”.

Friends, who broke the energy system? They did. Who banned onshore wind in England leading to higher gas imports and more expensive energy? They did. Who said cut the green crap and drove up bills? They did. Who cut home insulation to 20 times less than under Labour? They did. Who deregulated the energy market leaving 32 companies to go bust? They did. If you want to mend the broken energy system, I’ve got an idea: let’s start by getting rid of the Tories who broke it.

And it gets worse. Under Liz Truss, fracking is back. The Tories banned fracking in 2019 because they said it was dangerous. Now they’ve moved the goalposts: moderate earthquakes are just fine.

Let every Tory MP and candidate be asked: where do you stand on dangerous, expensive fracking? On breaking your manifesto promise? On the safety of your constituents?

Let them try and sell their charter for earthquakes to the people of Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands and communities across our country.

We will hold them to account on behalf of the people of Britain. And who do they solemnly say should be entrusted to look after the future of our planet, entrusted with the fates of your children and grandchildren? Jacob Rees-Mogg 19th Century Mogg. A man who says we must extract “every last drop” of oil and gas, even though it would mean three degrees of global warming. A man who says: “Trying to forecast the climate is unrealistic. The cost is probably unaffordable.”

Let’s say it like it is: this is dangerous, climate denial. If you want an energy policy for the 1820s, Jacob Rees-Mogg sure is your man. If you want one for the 2020s, we need a Labour government.

And I tell you this, our plans are not just about transforming our energy system, they’re about transforming our economy too. There is a global race for the jobs of the future, and Britain under the Tories is losing it.

Let me tell you about ITM Power in Sheffield. It is one of the world leaders in the hydrogen industry. They have plans to build a new factory. They were looking at the UK, but seeing the lack of support from this government, they now plan to go overseas.

I say it must and it will be different under a Labour government. It’s time to invest and build the wealth of this country. Invest and ensure good jobs at good wages with strong trade unions. It’s time to invest in Britain again.

That’s why Rachel Reeves and I are today announcing a new institution that will take back control of Britain’s economic destiny. Working with business, government as partner, investor and, yes shareholder. A new national wealth fund for Britain to lead the world in hydrogen. Lead the world in the EV revolution from the North East to the West Midlands. Lead the world in green steel from Port Talbot to Scunthorpe. Lead the world in decarbonising industry from here on Merseyside to Grangemouth. Lead the world in jobs in wind energy from the South West to Scotland.

That’s what I mean by the green industrial revolution. That’s what I mean by a green new deal. That’s what I mean by an energy policy for the people and the planet. And it cuts to a deeper truth: the goal of the next Labour government won’t just be to tinker round the edges. The hour is too late, the moment is too serious.

The next Labour government will deliver fundamental reform to the institutions of our economy. An economy built by the working people for working people. As it says on the party card: wealth, power and opportunity in the hands of the many not the few.

So here is the election choice. Lower energy bills with Labour, higher bills under the Tories. Energy security with Labour, energy insecurity under the Tories. Millions of green jobs with Labour, the opportunities squandered under the Tories. Leading the world again in tackling the climate crisis with Labour, climate delay, denial and destruction under the Tories.

These are the stakes. So don’t let anyone tell you all parties are the same. Don’t let anyone tell you politics doesn’t matter. Don’t let anyone tell you nothing will change whoever you vote for.

This is our mission. This is our chance. Let’s protect the people and the planet. Let’s rise to this moment, let’s lead and together transform our country.

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