Starmer plugs green plan in Aberdeen to relieve job fears – and forget rebellion

Katie Neame
Photo: UK Labour / Ed Miliband
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Keir Starmer is in Scotland today on an energy policy push – surely hoping to move the conversation on from the tumultuous few days he has faced in Westminster and put the mass rebellion and multiple frontbench resignations behind him. The Labour leader is today meeting with the energy industry and workers in Aberdeen – alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Shadow Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband – where he will set out more detail on Labour’s ‘British jobs bonus’, a key element of the party’s energy ‘mission’.

Labour will today confirm that key North Sea industries will be eligible for the bonus – with the party claiming the initiative could create 29,000 UK jobs by 2050 according to estimates. Specifically, the bonus will apply to hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and floating offshore wind – which Labour describes as “three of the core technologies for a jobs-rich transition in the North Sea”, arguing in a press release today that the policy will “safeguard future work for Scotland’s oil and gas communities” as a result. The party said the bonus will come from a £2.5bn fund of catalytic public investment, to crowd in “additional billions” of private sector investment.

The angling of this announcement continues Labour’s emphasis on a jobs-focused approach to the energy transition, rather than a focus on the climate emergency – a theme that also emerged in the changes made to the party’s final National Policy Forum document, amid criticism of Labour’s energy plans by affiliated unions and fears of job losses.

The visit is also yet another pitch to Scottish voters, coming off the back of Labour’s announcement that its planned publicly-owned energy company, GB Energy, will be headquartered north of the border. Speaking ahead of time, Starmer declared that his government would “rise above short termist gimmicks, put the country before our party and deliver the long-term future of our energy industry”, adding: “With Labour, Scotland and the North Sea will power Britain’s clean energy future.”

One staffer told LabourList the announcement showed Labour “stepping up and showing real confidence” in its green prosperity plan, and that GB Energy polled well. “The more we can talk to voters about home-grown energy, the better.” They also said unions had a “huge shared agenda” on investing in clean energy, with a “productive” meeting held yesterday.

In other Labour news…

CEASEFIRE LATEST: Labour frontbencher and MP for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanara Ali faced protests outside her constituency office yesterday, after she did not back the SNP’s amendment calling for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with attendees reportedly chanting “vote her out” and “Labour Party shame on you”. Meanwhile, Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens, who also abstained, had red paint splashed on her office by protesters who claimed she had “blood” on her hands (BBC News / The Guardian).

MINIMUM SERVICE LEVELS: TUC general secretary Paul Nowak has declared that the government’s “draconian” anti-strike laws “have been designed to escalate disputes – not resolve them” after the government published guidance on issuing work notices. “Ministers have produced guidance which makes an already-dire piece of legislation even worse,” Nowak added.

ELSEWHERE IN STRIKES: UNISON joined the TUC in criticising the government following the launch of a consultation on removing regulations that currently prevent agency workers from covering strikes. General secretary Christina McAnea said the “pointless policy” has “already been defeated in the courts“, declaring: “The government would be better off tackling the real issues facing the country, not wasting more valuable time picking fights with unions.”

CONGRATULATIONS: Jane Jones has been re-elected unopposed as the president of Usdaw. Her second three-year term in office will start after the union’s annual delegate meeting, which takes place next year from April 28th to May 1st.

SELECTIONS: Applications are currently open to be the Labour candidate for Aldershot, Brighton Pavilion, Burton and Cannock Chase. The deadline to apply for what will doubtless be an exciting contest in Brighton Pavilion is midday on November 23rd, while applications for the other three seats close at midday on the following day (Labour Party website).

THE RENTER VOTE: Renters could have more of a say in key Tory seats at the next general election, with analysis shared with openDemocracy showing there are likely 77 Tory constituencies where private renters now make up a fifth of the population, up from 25 in 2011 (openDemocracy).

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