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by Margaret Taylor
24 May 2024
Starmer pledges to put Scotland 'at the beating heart' of clean-energy Britain

Keir Starmer will launch Scottish Labour's election campaign today | Alamy

Starmer pledges to put Scotland 'at the beating heart' of clean-energy Britain

Labour leader Keir Starmer will today pledge to “bring down energy bills for good” and put Scotland “at the beating heart” of the UK as he launches Scottish Labour’s general election campaign alongside Scottish party leader Anas Sarwar.

With the vote due to take place on 4 July, Starmer will say that the public is being given the opportunity to “finally turn the page on 14 years of Tory government and the failed SNP, and to chart a new course for the country”.

That will include setting up Scotland-based national energy company Great British Energy should his party win, with Starmer saying the venture will “give Scotland the future it deserves”.

Starmer first mooted the idea of a publicly owned clean energy company at his party’s conference in 2022, last year using a visit to Leith to pledge it would be based in Scotland.

The party says the organisation will invest in “homegrown, clean energy to boost Britain’s energy independence and cut bills for good”, but it has proved controversial because Labour has also said it will be funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

In February Labour said it planned to raise the existing windfall tax from 75 per cent to 78 per cent should it win power and extend its term by a year to 2029.

That prompted then first minister Humza Yousaf to accuse the party of “raiding” the sector and putting 100,000 jobs on the line.

Scottish Labour’s shadow finance secretary Michael Marra was forced to defend the plan at the party’s conference that month, saying it will help provide a “stable transition” for the energy sector.

Speaking ahead of today’s launch, Starmer said by locating Great British Energy in Scotland a government led by him would put Scotland “at the beating heart” of his mission to “get Britain’s future back”.

“After 14 years of Tory chaos, people across Scotland are desperate for change. Families are picking up the tab of 14 years of Tory energy failure and are expected to remain a staggering £400 a year worse off under the new price cap,” he said.

“We can’t just send a message in this election, we must send a government – but we can only do that if we rebuild trust and chart a new course for the country.

“The Labour Party is humbly asking for the opportunity to change the country. To serve the entire country. To be clear, there is no national renewal without a strong Scotland. There is no Labour without Scotland. There is no changed Britain without Scotland.

“A Labour government will take Scotland in a different direction and give people hope for the future. Labour will stop families paying over the odds for energy. Great British Energy, our new publicly owned energy company, will invest in homegrown clean energy to boost energy independence and cut bills for good.

“When I say let’s get Britain’s future back, we say it with one voice. Scotland is at the beating heart of that mission.”

Sarwar added that Scotland is “crying out for change”, adding that it “falls to Labour to deliver the change we need”.

“After 17 years of SNP failure and 14 years of Tory chaos, Scotland has a chance to deliver a government that is on the side of the working people of Scotland – with Scottish MPs at its heart,” he said.

“A UK Labour government with Scottish Labour MPs will boot the Tories out of office, maximise Scotland’s influence, bring down bills, make work pay and deliver the change that Scotland needs.”

It comes after First Minister John Swinney yesterday launched the SNP’s election campaign, pledging to put independence at the top of its manifesto so that “never again will people here be subjected to an unelected Tory government”.

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