Robin Hood Energy attacks 'illiterate' as Labour pledges 46,000 new East Midlands green power jobs

Labour's shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband during his visit to Ashfield speaking to a reporter and wearing an orange Hi-Viz jacket
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Oliver Pridmore)

Labour says the publicly owned energy company it would create if it wins the general election would provide 46,000 new jobs across the East Midlands. The party has again denied that its plans would see the failure of Nottingham City Council's Robin Hood Energy repeated on a national scale, with Ed Miliband calling that argument "illiterate."

Instead, the party says its energy plans would see 427,000 homes across the East Midlands upgraded to become more energy efficient. Labour has pledged that its plans would therefore shave £300 off the average annual household energy bill in the region by 2030.

Mr Miliband, Labour's shadow energy secretary, was speaking during a visit to Ashfield ahead of the general election on July 4. The former Labour leader went to see staff at BRC Reinforcement, a steel reinforcement company based in Sutton, alongside Labour's candidate in Ashfield, Rhea Keehn.

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Labour used the visit as an opportunity to speak about its energy plans across the UK, chief among them being the establishment of Great British Energy. The publicly-owned firm would invest in clean energy projects across the UK, prioritising offshore wind and marine power, and build over a thousand local power projects.

The notion of local energy projects and publicly-owned companies has led the Conservatives to argue that Labour is simply repeating the mistakes made in the running of Robin Hood Energy in Nottingham. Mr Miliband dismissed this by saying: "I think it's sort of illiterate.

"Robin Hood Energy was an energy supplier and it failed partly because of a failure of regulation and partly because the Conservatives left us totally exposed through fossil fuels. The Conservative position is, they're in favour of public ownership of energy, as long as it's foreign public ownership of energy.

"They're in favour of the French buying up our energy, the Danes buying up our energy, the Norwegians, the Swedes - as long as it's not British. I actually think that is way out of line with the position of the British people. They want to see us take back control of our energy.

"They want to see us invest in the future, they want to see us generate wealth and good jobs for our country." As well as Great British Energy, Labour's energy plans also include a 'national wealth fund' to invest in electric vehicle battery plans in areas such as the East Midlands.

Mr Miliband said that included in the figure of 46,000 new jobs were roles for plumbers, welders and electricians who would be upgrading the hundreds of thousands of East Midlands homes to be more energy efficient. The shadow energy secretary added: "We face with the climate crisis not just a crisis, but this is the biggest single opportunity for the next generation of jobs." Below are all the candidates standing in Ashfield on July 4, presented in alphabetical order by surname.

Reform UK

Lee Anderson


Alexander Coates

Liberal Democrats

Daniel Holmes


Rhea Keehn


Debbie Soloman


Jason Zadrozny