Labour sets out £3 billion plan to help the steel industry turn green

Labour will invest up to £3 billion to help the steel industry turn green, Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has announced, as they endeavour to transform it into a “proud industry of the future”.

File photo dated 19/01/15 of Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband (PA/Nick Ansell)

The former party leader accused the Government of throwing steel workers “on the scrap heap” as he laid out the opposition's plans for the green industrial revolution at their annual conference, and pledged that his party would work with businesses and workers to “deliver climate justice” .

In his speech focussed on the growing environmental crisis, Mr Miliband told delegates that “it makes sense to invest now because we relieve the burden we place on future generations” and that steel would be a “massive test of whether we get the green transition right”.

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“Steel is a vital strategic industry for our country,” Doncaster North Mr Miliband said.

“Crucial for our national security and the foundation of our manufacturing industry. It provides tens of thousands of jobs for our communities.

“But here is the challenge: We need to green steel. It’s more than 10 percent of our manufacturing emissions.”

He added: “The Tories are woefully failing to make our steel industry strong for the future. Their delay, their inaction, is a recipe for throwing tens of thousands of workers on the scrapheap.”

Mr Miliband said that Labour would “make the steel industry not simply a proud industry of our past and present but a proud industry of our future. No other country is yet showing the same ambition.

“That’s what I mean by a green industrial revolution.”

The former leader of the opposition also hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial comments about Margaret Thatcher closing the mines, as he told the Brighton event that Labour would become the party of “green and red together”.

He said: “Let’s lay to rest the idea that these Tories can somehow manage a just or fair green transition. A couple of months back Boris Johnson was challenged on Tory credentials on climate change.

“He joked that Mrs Thatcher closed the pits and gave us a head start. This guy laughing about people losing their jobs, communities losing their lifeblood, generations losing hope. How dare he?”

Speaking on a visit to Scotland in August, Mr Johnson told reporters: "Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we're now moving rapidly away from coal altogether."

Earlier this year, party leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the country needed “rapid green investment” and that we should “lead by example” when it comes to the climate crisis.

Speaking in August he said: “The UK must rise to this moment and lead by example. That means rapid action to create good, green jobs across the country. And it means a proper strategy to buy, make and sell more in Britain, to create good, unionised jobs in clean energy and through supply chains.”

The announcement to be made in Brighton today comes ahead of the Cop26 UN climate conference which will be held in Glasgow this autumn.