Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

Keir Starmer’s plan to ban North Sea oil and gas faces backlash

Sir Keir Starmer might as well head to Aberdeen to “hand out dole notices” over his plan to ban North Sea oil and gas developments.

A Labour government would continue to use existing wells but block any requests for new licences.

But the move would “guarantee” higher energy prices and deter investment in the UK, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Andy Mayer, energy analyst at the think tank, said: “Last year, the opposition wanted to supertax the North Sea to reduce the cost of living.”

“This year they want to destroy it, guaranteeing higher prices.”

“Despite Net Zero plans, we will need fossil fuels for the next 20-30 years. With the global energy market increasingly plagued by uncertainty, politicians’ hostility towards using the resources beneath our own waters is all the more perplexing.”

“A smart transition would use our natural wealth to fund research and development into better, cheaper solutions. This is the opposite, seeking higher prices to force change.”

“The mere signal sent by this proposal will deter investment, which has already been damaged by government taxes and regulations.”

“With this policy, Keir Starmer might as well jump in an Aberdeen taxi and hand out the dole notices.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supports new oil and gas exploration and energy licences come under the UK government’s control, rather than Holyrood’s.

Under Sir Keir’s plans, Labour would only borrow to invest in green enterprises.

But critics claim it will lead to greater reliance on energy supplies from other countries.

Ryan Crighton, policy director at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, dismissed the plan as “pie in the sky stuff drawn up with zero engagement with the industry, or the region, which has been powering the UK for 50 years”.

Paul de Leeuw, director of energy transition from at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said Sir Keir’s plan was “at the naive end of the spectrum”.

A Labour source said: “We are against the granting of new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea. They will do nothing to cut bills as the Tories have acknowledged, they undermine our energy security, and would drive a coach and horse through our climate targets. But Labour would continue to use existing oil and gas wells over the coming decades and manage them sustainably as we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower.”

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