Recently I visited Hutchinson Engineering in Widnes, who manufacture wind turbines for both on-shore and off-shore wind farms as well as branching out into other forms of manufacturing such as telecommunications. Hutchinson Engineering has built an enviable reputation within the offshore sector over the last few years, but are facing uncertainty over the Tory Government’s lack of support, and constant undermining of Britain’s energy industry.
Clean energy investment in the UK fell by 56 per cent in 2017 and the number of people employed in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy fell by 30,000 between 2014 and 2016- a drop of 12.5%; while turnover over the same period is down almost £1.5 billion.
In government the Tories have:
– Rejected plans for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project, which could have generated jobs and used UK steel.
– Scrapped the Zero Carbon Homes policy.
– Scrapped a £1 billion flagship programme on carbon capture and storage.
– Cut support for small scale solar by 64 per cent, and overseen a collapse of new installations of 86 per cent. The same Tory cut to solar saw 12,000 jobs lost.
– Offered no clarity on renewables funding before 2025, denying companies the opportunity to plan for new projects and invest.
– Abolished the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Labour will address this uncertainly, and build an energy system that actually delivers for businesses, workers and our environment, and ensure that 60 per cent of our energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030. We will invest in infrastructure and new green technology across each region, helping companies based here in Britain to create jobs and rebalancing the economy.
We will take parts of our energy network back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy, affordability for consumers, and democratic control and we will change public sector procurement rules so that government supports jobs and industry, and promotes gender equality, environmental standards and unionisation.
While the Conservatives continue to scrap projects such as the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, which could have supported UK businesses, generated jobs and used UK steel. Labour will invest to create jobs, support and develop British supply chains, build a fairer society, combat climate change and rebalance an economy that has become too focused on the City of London and the financial sector.