Coutinho hits out at Labour’s ‘mad, bad and dangerous’ clean energy plan

Labour’s plan for clean electricity by 2030 is “unfeasible” and would leave the UK reliant on importing key material from China, Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho has claimed.

The Government has committed to decarbonise electricity generation by 2035 and Ms Coutinho claimed Sir Keir Starmer’s goal of hitting the target five years earlier would mean going “too fast, too soon”.

She told The Telegraph that Labour’s plans are “mad, bad and dangerous”, claiming they would involve higher taxes and bills, “and essentially not being sure that we can keep the lights on”.

Ms Coutinho suggested the extra five years in the Government’s timetable would allow supply chains to be developed in the UK that would reduce the need to rely on China.

She said: “At the moment there is one global dominant player when it comes to things like critical minerals or batteries, and that’s China.

“So, if you’re saying that we are going to have this unfeasible target, which no other major economy would have, what you’re ultimately sending out to the world is that we’re willing to pay whatever price you will put to us, which will see costs implode, you also don’t have time for the supply chains here to develop, which means you’ll be reliant on China.

“So, that means that what Labour are putting forward is a ‘made in China’ transition, but I want one that’s made in Britain.”

ENERGY Emissions Power
ENERGY Emissions Power

Ms Coutinho, who leads the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, said: “In terms of energy, we’ve just seen a period where continental Europe has had to wean itself off Russian oil and gas, we can’t do that to just then be dependent on China for critical minerals.

“So it’s really important that, as we’re thinking through the energy policy of the next couple of decades, we’re looking at all those components of the supply chain to make sure that we are secure and we’re not overly reliant on one part of the world.

“We’ve just seen where you have over-reliance on one part of the world, it affects all of our security … It’s important we are giving people that security, that sense, that they’ll be able to pay the bills.”

Shadow energy security secretary Ed Miliband said: “Fourteen years of failed Tory energy policy has seen jobs driven overseas, our clean energy infrastructure imported from abroad and our country left exposed to the worst cost-of-living crisis in memory.

“The Tories have had no industrial strategy and no plan – and households and businesses across the country have paid the price.

“Labour is determined to change this with our plan for Great British Energy, a publicly-owned energy company, to develop clean energy supply chains and jobs here in the UK, and our British Jobs Bonus, which will incentivise clean energy developers to drive investment into our industrial heartlands and coastal and energy communities.

“All of this underpins our mission for clean power by 2030, which will deploy clean energy infrastructure here in Britain at pace and scale to cut bills for good, create good jobs, and make Britain energy secure so this Tory energy insecurity can never happen again.”