Labour sets out plans for the East of England in regional manifesto

Labour has pledged to start a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the climate crisis, promising to create 70,000 new well-paid green jobs in the East of England.

The party published a series of regional manifestos, setting out its plans for the different areas of the UK, stating that it will unlock the potential of the East of England specifically by expanding the renewable energy and plastics industries. As a top commitment, Labour has said it will invest £10bn from its Green Transformation Fund in the East, with this including an East-West “Science Valley” rail link and an expansion of the Eastport UK port in Yarmouth. The latter would be with the aim of ensuring that the region is able to capitalise on opportunities from wind power.

It further claimed that it will invest in offshore wind, noting that the East of England has “more potential than any other English region to benefit from the UK’s booming offshore wind industry”, creating over 12,000 jobs.

Elsewhere, the manifesto laid out plans to upgrade almost all of the 2.5mn households across the region to reduce bills and eliminate the vast majority of fuel poverty. It also set out ambitions to invest in manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and expanding the EV charging network, ensuring 5,000 workers directly employed in the automotive sector in the East are protected, along with investment in small-scale, community-level and large-scale solar power, creating 2,600 jobs.

Labour also signalled its commitment to introducing a new Clean Air Act in a bid to tackle air pollution, noting that air quality in the East of England is “illegally poor” in certain areas with Peterborough and Cambridge among the most polluted parts of the country. Ten new National Parks across the country, including in areas such as the Suffolk coast, would be created under a Labour government as would a comprehensive Waste and Recycling Strategy. The East would see £200mn invested in new plastics recycling facilities and the introduction of new measures such as bottle recycling schemes.

The £10bn investment from the Green Transformation Fund will also go towards upgrading the internet connection of 2.1mn homes and businesses to Full-Fibre Broadband. The party added that it will take a public stake in new projects, meaning towns and cities across the East of England will benefit from reinvestment of profits in public spaces.

An East of England Development Bank will be created as part of Labour’s plans to devolve spending. This will ensure the region gets its share of investment for small businesses, infrastructure projects and funding for new growth industries. Boards, made of up of local key stakeholders, will set the priorities for lending. An Office of Government in the East of England will also be created, coordinating policies at a regional level, to ensure the region has a “voice in Whitehall”, with a Local Transformation Fund used exclusively to support infrastructure projects decided at a local level by local people.