Labour sets out energy plans in Great Yarmouth

Ed Miliband and Bridget Phillipson with a student
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson met students at East Norfolk Sixth Form [Shaun Whitmore/BBC]

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised a raft of renewable energy jobs backed by apprenticeships on a visit to a coastal college.

The shadow energy secretary was joined by the shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, to highlight a pledge to revive engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships.

"Talking to young people at the college, they see the potential of renewable energy, but that potential is not being full realised under the Conservatives," said Mr Miliband.

However, Peter Aldous for the Conservatives, who has raised energy issues for the East in Parliament, said: "We are seeing people coming to work here and also local people getting those jobs in those new emerging businesses."

Left to right: Jess Asato, Bridget Phillipson, Keir Cozens, Ed Miliband and Dr Catherine Richards
Lowestoft's Labour candidate Jess Asato (left) and Great Yarmouth's candidate Keir Cozens (centre) were also welcomed by college principal Dr Catherine Richards [Shaun Whitmore/BBC]

During the visit, Mr Miliband and Ms Phillipson said renewable energy was vital to economic growth, and shared plans on their promise to create 650,000 jobs in the energy sector.

Many of these jobs would be based along the East Coast, where lots of potential was being missed by the government, said Mr Miliband.

"We have a ban on onshore wind in England - that's driving people's bills up by £180 a year," said Mr Miliband.

"They're sending bad signals on a whole range of areas around Net Zero - that's putting off investors.

"When I talk to business, I know they want clarity of direction which a Labour government will offer."

The party's jobs plan would be supported by a proposal to set up "technical excellence colleges" to focus on training in welding, engineering and the production and maintenance of offshore wind turbines.

Peter Aldous
Peter Aldous has defended the Conservatives' policies on the energy industry [UK Parliament]

But the Conservatives have said the offshore renewable industry had grown rapidly over the last 14 years of its tenure and thousands of jobs had already been created.

"The speed with which it has accelerated and which it has now firmly established as part of the UK energy mix has, in many ways, taken people by surprise and that's probably why we have work to do on the infrastructure," said Mr Aldous.

Regarding Sizewell, Mr Miliband added that he believed investors could be found, while on the issue of pylons he insisted that although Labour would listen to residents, the energy infrastructure must be built.

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