Ed Miliband doubles down on Labour’s opposition to new oil and gas drilling
More oil and gas would not save voters a penny on their energy bills, Ed Miliband argued as he warned that Britain must “get real” on fracking.
The shadow energy secretary doubled down on Labour’s opposition to new drilling as he confirmed he would adopt a version of the green package introduced by Joe Biden.
Mr Miliband told ministers to stop being “sore losers” as he promised his new Green Prosperity Plan, which replicates similar measures by President Biden and the EU, would be introduced in the first 100 days of a Labour government.
Telling a Green Alliance event that £11.4 billion raised by the windfall tax had gone to oil and gas companies “making record profits” instead of renewable firms, Mr Miliband said: “The same resources could build the future.
“The Government syphons money to companies making record profits to persuade them to invest in expensive solutions that will not cut bills by 1p.
“I don’t believe in new licences for oil and gas, no, and I’ll tell you why. Because they won’t cut bills by a penny, by the Government’s own admission.
“Because now you see the truth – which is they’ve got to spend massive amounts of money to get the industry to invest in this.”
Responding to reports that the Rosebank oilfield will effectively receive a taxpayer subsidy worth £3.75bn, Mr Miliband added: “As of right now, the Government might be willing to ignore the science.
“But I’m not willing to ignore the science. So I think we have to sort of ‘get real’ on this step.”
Mr Miliband also announced Labour would ring fence £1.8 billion of funding to support investment in the UK’s port infrastructure, which would allow for the development of new factories specialising in offshore wind components.
He hailed President Biden’s controversial Inflation Reduction Act, which the Government has criticised as too protectionist, and insisted he could build a green economy able to compete with the likes of the United States and China.
Asked if any tax rises would be needed, and if he would level with the public that Labour’s £28 billion Green Prosperity Plan commitment relied on borrowing, Mr Miliband replied: “We’re not talking about tax rises. What we are talking about is investment in the future.”
Decarbonising target ‘challenging’
The shadow net zero secretary branded the prospect of not acting now “imprudent” and “reckless”, pointing to warnings from the Office for Budget Responsibility that if climate action were to be delayed by a decade, the cost to the economy will double.
Elsewhere in his address, Mr Miliband admitted Labour’s target of decarbonising by 2030 – five years earlier than the current Government ambition – was “incredibly challenging”.
However, he insisted: “The prize is huge. Unless you set a really stretching target, you have no hope of getting there.”
Mr Miliband also committed Labour to “climate devolution” deals if it were to gain power, which would allow local leaders including Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to set higher green standards.
“You’re basically very, very constrained by Whitehall from doing it,” he said. “If Sadiq wants to have higher standards on energy, he should be able to have higher standards and people can decide if they like them or not, and vote for him or not.
“In a way, it’s almost a race to the top that we want to encourage. I think it really speaks to the Whitehall permission nature of British government.”