An extra £28 billion a year would be spent on helping Britain tackle climate change under a Labour government, the shadow chancellor has pledged.
Rachel Reeves used a major speech at the party conference Monday to outline her ambition to become the “first green chancellor” and unveiled proposals for a colossal investment in greener technology.
The money would be used for capital projects, including electric vehicle battery factories and wind turbine manufacturers, and invested annually until 2030.
She confirmed she would overhaul the business rates system and review all tax reliefs if she arrived in No 11.
On taxation, Ms Reeves pledged she will “not balance the books on the backs of working people”, adding: “We will look at every single tax break and if it doesn’t deliver for the economy or the taxpayer, then we will scrap it.”
Swipe at Amazon
She also took aim at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as she called on the Government to increase the digital services tax to 12 per cent for the next year, to make sure online companies such as Amazon pay their fair share.
“When Amazon’s revenues went up by almost £2 billion last year, how much did its tax go up? Less than one per cent,” she told the party faithful, adding: “If you can afford to fly to space, you can pay your taxes here on Earth.”
Estimated extra investment per year to hit net zero
Outlining her eco-credentials in Brighton, Ms Reeves said: “I will invest in good jobs in the green industries of the future; giga-factories to build batteries for electric vehicles; a thriving hydrogen industry; offshore wind with turbines made in Britain; planting trees and building flood defences; keeping homes warm and getting energy bills down; good new jobs in communities throughout Britain.
“In other words: protecting and strengthening our everyday economy. And to make this a reality, to unlock that potential, and protect our planet for future generations.
‘First green chancellor’
She added: “I can announce today Labour’s climate investment pledge, an additional £28 billion of capital investment in our country’s green transition for each and every year of this decade.
“I will be a responsible chancellor. I will be Britain’s first green chancellor.”
The UK's Herculean task to meet the 2050 net-zero emission target
Her speech received a cautiously warm welcome from industry. CBI chief executive Tony Danker characterised her proposals as a “real step forward” from Labour on the economy and business.
He tweeted: “Seeking partnership, backing green investment and scrapping a business rate system that hinders growth. Still some tricky questions, but overall welcome.”
Greenpeace also welcomed the announcement.