Grid to return to public ownership under Labour

National and regional grid would come back “over time”, according to manifesto

Labour has toughened up its plans to bring energy back into public ownership.

The party’s manifesto, published this morning, contains a pledge that a Labour would bring national and regional grid infrastructure into public ownership “over time”.

To help bring this about, the manifesto states that Labour would legislate to permit publicly-owned local companies to purchase the regional grid infrastructure.

The party’s commitment to public ownership goes beyond the wording in last week’s leaked manifesto in which Labour pledged to take back “control” by central government of the grid.

Labour has also pledged to regain control of energy supply networks by altering the National and Regional Network Operator license conditions.

The manifesto says Labour wants to take energy back into public ownership in order to deliver renewable energy, make bills more affordable for customers and restore democratic control

Investing in publicly owned energy provision will support Labour’s industrial strategy by helping businesses to reduce their power bills, says the manifesto.

The manifesto also contains a fresh pledge by Labour to support tidal lagoons to help deliver its target that 60 per cent of the UK's energy is generated from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030.

Labour has dropped a pledge to establish a new local energy task force to provide help and advice for local people and businesses that want to set up community energy co-operatives. And there is no mention of the leaked manifesto’s commitment that renewable energy projects would be a priority for the party’s proposed £250m National Investment Bank.

The official manifesto restates Labour’s commitment to insulate 4 million homes. Homeowners would be offered interest-free loans to install insulation, energy efficiency standards for rented homes would be upgraded and the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance re-established.

But there is no mention in the final document of stamp duty reliefs to incentivise energy efficiency works as proposed in the leaked draft.

The final manifesto also confirms that Labour would introduce an “immediate” emergency price cap to keep average dual annual fuel household energy bill below £1,000 during the transition to a “fairer system”.

And it confirms that Labour would continue to support new nuclear projects and ban fracking.

Responding to the manifesto, the onshore oil and gas industry association UKOOG said Labour’s pledge to ban fracking would undermine the party’s wider commitment to ensure the UK’s energy security.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, said: “The Labour Party’s position has changed dramatically in two years and shows a misunderstanding of how we use energy in this country. The only solution to our pressing energy needs is a balanced mix of nuclear, renewables and gas – produced here in this country, creating tax revenues and skilled jobs.”

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