Industry welcomes incoming Labour government

Congratulations and caveats have been issued by industry following the Labour Party’s emphatic victory in yesterday’s (July 4, 2024) General Election.

Jubilant Sir Keir Starmer wins a landslide general election victory
Jubilant Sir Keir Starmer wins a landslide general election victory - Supplied by RIA

With two seats yet to declare at the time of writing, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party had gained 211 seats to reach an unassailable 412 seats in parliament.

With a landslide majority assured, toolmaker’s son Sir Keir now has a clear mandate to implement the party’s manifesto pledges, which include establishing a National Wealth Fund, introduce a new industrial strategy, reform planning rules, set up Great British Energy, and equip children with ‘skills to thrive in the future’.

“The new government has a lot in its in-tray to address,” commented Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK. “First and foremost is the urgent need to kick start the UK’s anaemic growth levels of recent years and, boost investment in our infrastructure, without which we cannot address the many urgent priorities the country faces at national and regional level.

“A modern, long-term industrial strategy which tackles the skills crisis in particular will be key to delivering this growth. Manufacturers stand ready to work with the new government and all stakeholders as a matter of urgency to help deliver this.” 

Labour intends to address some of these concerns in three of its five National Missions, which include enabling higher growth with a reformed planning system that does not block homes, infrastructure, and investment; new technical excellence colleges; and establishing Great British Energy.

With a budget of £8.3bn over the next parliament, Great British Energy ‘will partner with industry and trade unions to deliver clean power by co-investing in leading technologies; help support capital-intensive projects; and deploy local energy production to benefit communities across the country.’

“With a serious industrial strategy and a genuine partnership between the public and private sectors, we can make Britain a clean energy superpower,” Sir Keir said in his party’s manifesto. “At the heart of our approach will be our Green Prosperity Plan where, in partnership with business through our National Wealth Fund, we will invest in the industries of the future. Our plan will create 650,000 jobs across the country by 2030.”

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Sir Keir added that Labour will support nuclear by extending the lifetime of existing plants, ‘get Hinkley Point C over the line’, and support Sizewell C and SMRs.

Commenting, Amir Cohen, CEO at EGM (Electrical Grid Monitoring), said: “With a new UK government, comes a more ambitious goal of ensuring all power comes from zero-carbon electricity sources by 2030.

“Currently, fragmented planning and delayed permitting processes hinder renewable energy integration into the electricity grid. In addition to this, 20 per cent of grid capacity is wasted due to overly cautious load limits and insufficient monitoring systems all delaying the shift to cleaner energy.

“To tackle this, the new government must consider accelerating permitting and planning reforms, and supporting the adoption of more advanced monitoring systems, which would create a more agile and responsive grid infrastructure. This enhanced grid would effectively accommodate more renewable energy sources faster, which is essential for achieving net zero emissions by 2030.”

Further manifesto pledges include £1.5bn from the £7.3bn National Wealth Fund for new gigafactories, plus £1.8bn and £1bn from the same fund to upgrade port and build supply chains and accelerate the deployment of CCUS respectively.

The Labour Party will keep the UK committed to the nation’s nuclear deterrent and spend 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence. It will also use reformed planning rules ‘to build the railways, roads, labs and 1.5 million homes we need and develop a new 10-year infrastructure strategy.’

Railway Industry Association chief executive Darren Caplan said: “Labour’s Plan for Rail, published earlier in the year, is clear that the railways are crucial for delivering UK economic growth. Labour has pledged to bring forward a strong pipeline of work for the rail supply sector and to develop a long-term industrial strategy for rolling stock.

“RIA and our members now look forward to working with the new government to achieve its goals for rail.”

Are you pleased to have woken up to a Labour government? Let us know in the comments below. All comments are moderated.