Labour cites inspiration from US President Biden on green economy plans

Labour’s plan for green investment is taking inspiration from US President Joe Biden, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said.

The party claims its proposed green prosperity plan, which would include a national wealth fund, could support 450,000 new jobs over this decade.

The Conservatives said Ms Reeves’ comments on spending amount to an admission the party would “saddle our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt”, and questioned how the plans would be compatible with lowering debt as a share of GDP.

Labour has previously said an £8 billion national wealth fund would result in a zero-carbon economy “made in Britain” and has committed to invest £28 billion a year in the so-called green economy.

On Sunday, Ms Reeves sought to justify the level of investment, saying other nations are “taking a punt on these jobs and industries of the future”.

She told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “There’s clearly a huge imperative to get our economy growing … I see around the country when I visit businesses in all parts of the UK huge potential and huge ambition.

“It is obvious in the growth, the investment, the productivity numbers, that that potential is not being realised today. So, I do take inspiration from what President Biden is doing in the United States.

“He’s turning the rust belt into an electric vehicle belt, creating good manufacturing jobs in former industrialised heartlands and getting businesses to invest in the US.

“I want to see some of that action here in the UK. At the moment, it feels like we’re in the changing room when other countries are in the global race, and we’re going to miss out, miss out in that investment, in carbon capture and storage, floating offshore wind, green steel, green hydrogen.”

She added: “What is dangerous is sitting on our hands whilst other countries are acting.”

The shadow chancellor warned that if the UK does not invest in those industries then in 10 years it could be importing electric vehicles, steel, hydrogen and electricity.

Ms Reeves said: “The big risk is that we let other countries steal a march on us here in Britain and miss out on those opportunities, and see those low-growth numbers become bedded in.

“These investments would be not crowding out business investment, it will be investing alongside business to get these industries off the ground.”

Mr Biden’s White House has said its Inflation Reduction Act will see hundreds of billions invested in clean energy infrastructure, including incentives for electric vehicles.

Labour said its plans will take inspiration from the US approach and would support the creation of more than 200,000 direct jobs and up to 300,000 indirect jobs over this decade, including more than 50,000 new jobs in both the North West and Yorkshire, as well as 30,000 new jobs each in the North East, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, and the east of England.

The party said its plans for a national wealth fund would be given a remit to help target geographic inequality.

Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said: “Rachel Reeves admitted she would saddle our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt. This shows Labour hasn’t changed.

“All Labour promise are the same old Labour plans. Unfunded spending. Higher debt. Uncontrolled immigration.

“Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will be responsible with public finances. Halve inflation. Grow the economy. Reduce debt.”