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Labour will make Britain a clean energy superpower – and innovation in tech is crucial to succeed

4 min read

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time, an existential threat to our lives, our prosperity and the planet

Keir Starmer has put addressing climate change at the centre of the policy agenda for the next Labour government. The Labour Party will make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030, to create jobs, cut energy bills and boost energy security with zero-carbon electricity.

This is more than a slogan – it is a mission with purpose, backed by pledges. Our Green Prosperity Plan will invest £28bn of capital into the green economy for each and every year over this decade. 

Achieving zero-carbon electricity by 2030 is by no means straightforward. But the technological element of this mission is as challenging as it is exciting. It will require researchers, engineers, businesses and investors working in partnership with a proactive state. It will also require a government supporting both the “R” and the “D” elements of R&D. 

A government working in partnership with the “R”, research, of our world-leading science and research base can inspire the discovery and foundation of evidence which could accelerate the transition to clean energy. In fact, it is researchers and scientists that have made this transition even possible. Whether it’s in my own constituency Newcastle, which is at the heart of Britain’s electric battery revolution, or the offshore wind technology research in the North East, it is down to our great research that the feat of clean energy by 2030 is even within grasp.

But our researchers deserve better than a government that keeps them in dark about their participation in the world’s biggest science scheme, Horizon Europe, and puts them in the impossible position of having to choose between accessing the funding they need and the country they love.

Labour see a clear path from investing in R&D to creating the jobs you can raise a family on

Labour believes that when the state, science, universities and private sector come together the country can truly succeed. It is this recipe, detailed in our Industrial Strategy: Prosperity Through Partnership, which the next Labour government will champion. That’s why Labour remain committed to our three per cent of GDP R&D investment target – to support our researchers and continue the United Kingdom’s proud research heritage. 

Clean energy by 2030 will also require a government with a clear focus on the “D”, development. At present, the UK has the lowest levels of business investment in the G7 and our great British start-ups and spin-outs involved in climate technology are being bought up or moving abroad. When I regularly meet with stakeholders like universities, researchers, venture capital, start-ups and spin outs, their message is clear: the uncertainty and omni-crisis of this government make it near impossible for them to operate and prosper. We cannot develop technological solutions with a government that simply isn’t serious about science. Labour will accelerate the “D” by part-financing gigafactories to build batteries for electric vehicles, supporting the hydrogen industry and offshore wind turbines manufactured in Britain.

Technological innovation is crucial to securing a prosperous and green future – and the Labour Party knows that the transition to net zero and economic growth go hand in hand. Labour sees a clear path from investing in R&D to creating the jobs you can raise a family on. We know that countries which seize the initiative will mitigate the worst impacts of energy insecurity and climate change, whilst delivering high-paid, skilled jobs to all corners of the country. 

Only a Labour government, with our long-term Industrial Strategy, can provide the conditions, the investment, stability and strategy for technological innovation to drive the push to clean energy and deliver a fairer, greener future.

Chi Onwurah is Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and shadow minister for science, research and innovation

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Read the most recent article written by Chi Onwurah MP - Innovation is key to making Britain a clean energy superpower

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