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Labour pledges to use state-owned investment fund to ‘build British industry’

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Yui Mok/PA)
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Yui Mok/PA)

A Labour government would set up a state-owned investment fund so the British state could invest directly in productive projects and create a return for taxpayers, the shadow chancellor has said.

Ahead of her speech at the Labour conference, Rachel Reeves set out the party’s mission to “build British industry”, investing in national projects from battery factories to renewable-ready ports.

She will argue the policy is a “real plan for the climate”, a “real plan for growth” and a “real plan for levelling up”.

The projects would be funded by a National Wealth Fund, with the party’s Green Prosperity Plan, which was announced at the last Labour conference, putting an initial £8.3 billion into a central pot.

The creation of the fund, the PA news agency understands, could be modelled on similar institutions in countries like Norway and Singapore and its aim is to create long-term wealth for Britain.

The policy would mean that when public money is spent on these projects, the British people would own a share of that wealth and benefit from the returns on those investments.

Speaking at the Labour conference in Liverpool, Ms Reeves is expected to say: “Here is the deal: The next Labour Government will create a National Wealth Fund so that when we invest in new industries, in partnership with business the British people will own a share of that wealth and the taxpayer will get a return on that investment.

“Because conference, when I say I want to buy, make and sell more in Britain I mean it.

“What you will see in your town, in your city, under Labour is a sight we have not seen often enough in our country.

“Cranes going up, shovels in the ground. The sounds and sights of the future arriving. Secure, skilled jobs for plumbers, electricians and joiners, for designers, scientists and engineers.

“Wealth that will flow back into your community and onto your high street. Wealth that the British people will own a stake in. Wealth that is invested in our country’s future.”

She will add: “That is a real plan for the climate. That is a real plan for growth. That is a real plan for levelling up.

“A zero carbon economy – made right here… made in Britain.”

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband
Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband (James Manning/PA)

Labour wants to target the money at industries where public investment could attract further private sector spending to deliver energy security and a zero-carbon economy, as well as jobs and growth across the economy.

The projects include eight new battery factories, six clean steel plants, nine renewable-ready ports, the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser plant and net-zero industrial clusters in every region of the country.

Labour’s plan would also see the investment deployed in every region across the UK, with the plan for offshore wind alone injecting investment into nine clusters: Forth and Tay, Humber, East Anglia, Solent, North West and North Wales, Belfast Harbour, North East Scotland, North East England and the Celtic Sea.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “It is time to take back control of Britain’s economic destiny by making sure that we build the industries of the future in our towns and cities. An economy by the many for the many.”

“The Conservatives have let good jobs go overseas, and watched our industries lose out as other countries get ahead in the global race.

“We say no more. Labour’s National Wealth Fund is based on a simple idea: that it is time to invest and build the wealth for this country, so we can lead the world in industries such as hydrogen, electric vehicles, green steel and offshore wind.

“This is about good jobs that pay well, with strong trade unions, and with money that flows back into the pockets of the British people.”