(Asian Independent)- Former Labour Leader Ed Miliband has welcomed Liam Byrne’s manifesto plans to bring back industry to the West Midlands by making the region the world’s centre for green manufacturing.
“This shows Labour is ambitious for the West Midlands and has a plan to ensure its proud manufacturing tradition becomes an even prouder future”, said Ed Miliband when he joined Liam Byrne, Labour’s candidate for West Midlands’ Mayor on a tour of the Energy Innovation Centre based in the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University.
Byrne said: ‘Today we are launching our Green Manufacturing Manifesto. This election is our opportunity to make our green future and put us at the forefront of net zero global challenge.
“We can bring back industry by re-industrialising as a clean-tech capital and make the green transport and housing we need.’
The manifesto backs the Midlands to build the electric cars, delivery vehicles, hydrogen and electric buses, cycles and e-bikes, zero carbon railways, very light rail, ‘jet zero’ planes, biofuels and green homes (new build and retrofit) as well as the medical technology and digital products to live differently.
Byrne’s plans include setting up GrETHA (Green Energy Transport Housing Agency) to accelerate and drive green transport and homes and renewable energy and coordinate programmes to boost demand and ‘make markets’ as well as issue green bonds to further scale the programmes.
A new Learning & Skills agency will drive the doubling of apprenticeships. There will be a stocktake of the West Midlands ‘Mittlestand’ (manufacturing small and medium firms) and use this to improve advice and support for firms to go green including with a new Innovation Agency for R&D and assess establishing a West Midlands municipal bank to invest in local businesses. A green manufacturing expo will help promote the region too.
The manifesto was based on the Green Manufacturing Commission, a team of experts brought together by Byrne drawn from across sectors and with national and cross-regional expertise.
As Byrne launched the manifesto he slammed the Government for failing to back the West Midlands. Recent figures show the region has the least money awarded for public sector decarbonisation grants. ‘As the centre of UK industry, we should be prioritised for decarbonisation investment not at the back of the queue’, said Byrne. ‘We’re still waiting as well for the funding to unlock a battery Gigafactory for electric vehicles in Coventry. The Government is dithering not driving hard to get this in place.’
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said:
‘The manufacturing industry in the West Midlands has led the world and should be at the heart of a green recovery – but is being held back by a Conservative government and mayor.
‘Liam Byrne would be a fantastic mayor, backing manufacturers, creating jobs and standing up for the West Midlands to make sure it receives the investment from the Government it deserves.
‘His green manifesto shows Labour is ambitious for the West Midlands and has a plan to ensure it has a future that can help create jobs and tackle the climate emergency.’
Green Manufacturing Commission members backed Byrne’s plans:
Paul Everitt, Commission Co-Chair, Chairman of Farnborough International, as well as former CEO of ADS, the aerospace and space trade body and of the SMMT, the motor industry trade body, said:
‘The West Midlands can lead the green manufacturing revolution with a strong base of international businesses and local supply chains with a coordinated plan. This is what the Green Manufacturing Commission, set up by Liam, has helped bring forward,’
Professor Beverley Nielsen, Commission Co-Chair, , Executive Director of Birmingham City University’s Institute of Design & Economic Acceleration said:
‘The Commission has given key insights into business markets, supply chains, transitioning to a circular economy, and the pressing need for long term support. The policies Liam is promoting get behind our vital manufacturing base and allied service industries.’
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Commission Co-Chair and Chair of the WMCA Scrutiny Committee said: ‘Connecting the opportunities of clean and green manufacturing to our young people and to all parts of our region is an imperative and Liam’s plans will do this.’
Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary Unite trade union, responsible for the manufacturing sector and Commission member said: ‘Boosting demand can lift green manufacturing, get orders on the books, bring back jobs and develop supply chains in the West Midlands. Government contracts and those of public bodies like the Combined Authority can play an important role.’