SIR Keir Starmer heard ‘frank’ views from energy leaders in Aberdeen last night as he honoured his pledge to engage with members of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
The Labour leader, who the polls say will by Britain’s next prime minister, heard first-hand from operators, supply chain companies and investors at a roundtable organised by the Chamber and True North Advisors.
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Sir Keir was joined by Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State of Climate Change and Net Zero, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar MSP, Ian Murray MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, and Sarah Boyack MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Just Transition.
They faced pushback from the energy industry, and unions, over their controversial plans to ban all new oil and gas licences if they win the next election.
During the meeting, business leaders repeatedly made the case for Aberdeen to be named the location of Labour’s planned new publicly-owned energy company.
The discussions were private, but the Labour leader has underlined his pledge that Labour will not be turning off the North Sea taps.
Speaking after the meeting, Russell Borthwick, Chief Executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are grateful to Sir Keir and his colleagues for travelling to Aberdeen to hear the views of our members and the wider energy sector.
“We had a frank and honest exchange about the challenges facing the region, this sector and the 215,000 people whose jobs rely on the right policy decisions being made.
“The companies in the room and across North-east Scotland are ready to make the energy transition happen and want to work constructively with all parties to enable this.
“We hope that Sir Keir and his team will reflect on the views they heard today and use them to create a strategy that aligns fully with our energy security needs of today, and our huge net zero ambition for tomorrow.”
Today, Sir Keir will announce more detail of Labour’s £2.5 billion British Jobs Bonus, announced in summer, which is part of Labour’s mission to make the UK a clean energy superpower.
The party will confirm on Friday that key North Sea industries will be eligible for the financial incentive. It is estimated the initiative could create 29,000 UK jobs by 2050.