Jeremy Corbyn energy policy 'for the 60 million, not the Big Six energy firms'


Jeremy Corbyn will pledge to create an energy policy "for the 60 million, not the Big Six" if he becomes prime minister, including the creation of 300,000 jobs in the renewables sector.

The Labour leader will set a target of generating 65% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2030 in a bid to make the country a world leader in green technology.

A Corbyn-led government would also immediately reinstate the Department for Energy and Climate Change scrapped by Theresa May when she took over as Prime Minister, a decision he described as "short-sighted and irresponsible".

A Labour government would ban fracking, as extracting gas is "not compatible" with the UK's climate commitments because it is a fossil fuel.

Launching his energy and environment manifesto in Nottingham, Mr Corbyn is expected to say: "When Labour gets back into power Britain will lead the world in action on climate change.

"We will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, and take our fair share of action to meet the Paris climate agreement - starting by getting on track with our Climate Change Act goals.

"We want Britain to be the world's leading producer of renewables technology.

"To achieve this we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future, using our National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy.

"This will deliver clean energy and curb energy bill rises for households; an energy policy for the 60 million, not the Big Six energy companies."

The manifesto also contains plans to empower community energy companies and co-operatives, introduce a National Home Insulation plan for at least four million homes, adopt EU environmental regulations and back the Government's plan to phase out coal-fired power by 2025.

But Mr Corbyn's rival for the Labour leadership, Owen Smith, highlighted comments from August last year in which the party leader said mines in South Wales could be reopened.

Mr Smith said: "It's impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to speak with credibility on environmental policy.

"He's called for the reintroduction of deeply damaging open-cast coal mining, only had one meeting with his shadow environment team in nine months as leader, and didn't utter a word of protest when Theresa May scrapped the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

"By failing to campaign effectively for Britain to remain in the EU, and by calling for Article 50 to be invoked immediately, he has put vital environmental protections at further risk."

Meanwhile, Mr Smith warned that the re-election of Mr Corbyn could leave a generation without their own home.

The former work and pensions secretary said keeping the Labour leader in post would lead to another Tory general election victory and a continuation of the "housing crisis".

Reiterating his plan to build 1.5 million new homes in five years, half of which would be social homes, and launch a £50 million outreach fund to end rough sleeping, Mr Smith said: "If Jeremy continues as leader, I really fear that the Tories will be in power until at least 2025. If the Tories' appalling record on housing continues, then we'll have a shortage of 1.8 million homes by 2025, the last of our social housing will be sold off, and more than 100,000 families will be left homeless.

"Labour cannot turn a blind eye and allow the Tories to condemn thousands more people to a life on the streets or without a home they can call their own. We have to be a credible government-in-waiting and win the next election."

The latest clash in Labour's leadership contest came after the party's MPs and peers backed proposals to restore elections to select the shadow cabinet in a move viewed as a fresh challenge to Mr Corbyn.

The Parliamentary Labour Party held a ballot on reintroducing the measure Ed Miliband axed in 2011 to give him a free hand selecting his top team.

But the vote is not binding and the reform will need the backing of the ruling National Executive Committee and the party's conference before it can be introduced.

Mr Smith has indicated he backs the move while Mr Corbyn's team has suggested the party could consider giving all party members a vote on the make-up of the shadow cabinet.