Manifesto 2019:Green - Economy and Energy - Ownership
We will not achieve the promise of a fair and sustainable economy if we repeat the mistakes of the carbon era, when the capture of a natural resource for private profit created a vastly unequal and polluting economy dominated by powerful vested interests.
It’s not just carbon. From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a poor regulator for use of our natural resources.
Whether it is the trillions of litres of water lost through leakages, barriers to renewable energy connecting to the grid or the billions of pounds of bill-payers’ money being siphoned off in dividends to wealthy shareholders, Tory privatisation of our utilities has been a disaster for both our planet and our wallets.
We will put people and planet before profit by bringing our energy and water systems into democratic public ownership. In public hands, energy and water will be treated as rights rather than commodities, with any surplus reinvested or used to reduce bills. Communities themselves will decide, because utilities won’t be run from Whitehall but by service-users and workers.
Public ownership will secure democratic control over nationally strategic infrastructure and provide collective stewardship for key natural resources.
In the case of energy, it will also help deliver Labour’s ambitious emissions targets. Whereas private network companies have failed to upgrade the grid at the speed and scale needed, publicly owned networks will accelerate and co-ordinate investment to connect renewable and low-carbon energy while working with energy unions to support energy workers through the transition.
Under Labour’s plans:
- A new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of our decarbonisation targets.
- 14 new Regional Energy Agencies will replace the existing district network operators and hold statutory responsibility for decarbonising electricity and heat and reducing fuel poverty.
- The supply arms of the Big Six energy companies will be brought into public ownership where they will continue to supply households with energy while helping them to reduce their energy demands.
The Conservatives allowed the proceeds of North Sea oil to be squandered on tax cuts for the richest and captured in profits for the few, instead of investing them in our future. We now stand at an even greater crossroads in the development of our national economy. Under Labour, our green future will be owned by all of us.
Whenever public money is invested in an energy generation project, the public sector will take a stake and return profits to the public.