At the entrance to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum sits a huge, battered propeller with a rich history. It once propelled the Fox, which set sail from Aberdeen Harbour on 1st July 1857 on a mission to trace the famous lost expedition of Captain Sir John Franklin.
That artefact, built here in Aberdeen, reflects a wider story of this city and its relationship with the North Sea. It’s a story of exploration and ambition – going back not decades, but centuries.
It’s a story of progress. And it’s a story which, I believe, has many exciting chapters to come.
As I visit Aberdeen today, I am in no doubt about the potential of this city, Scotland’s energy capital, to help power the future of British energy.
It’s why I’m meeting with industry and workers here. To develop a partnership which would see a Labour government in Westminster, working with Scottish Labour, driving investment and jobs into this community and across the North Sea.
Labour has a plan. It’s a pragmatic plan to secure the next generation of jobs and investment in Scotland’s energy heartlands.
It’s a plan which will cut families’ energy bills and make the whole of the UK more energy secure. A plan, developed alongside industry, to put Scotland at the heart of our clean energy future.
I know that for some people, words like ‘transition’ conjure up mixed feelings. Rightfully, workers here want safe, secure jobs for their families and their future.
I also get that politicians have all sorts to say around elections, and far too rarely do those words become action.
‘Labour plan will be delivered’
So let me be very clear. If we are honoured enough to form the next UK government, our plans for the UK’s energy future will be delivered.
Not just delivered, but delivered with you. I want to harness the expertise and experience that exists today across Aberdeen and the North Sea.
I want to harness the billions of pounds in private sector investment just waiting to be unlocked. And yes, our leading oil and gas sector will be a part of the mix for decades to come.
In doing so, I believe we can unleash a generation of good, secure jobs here. High skilled jobs in exciting, growing industries which build on our energy heritage.
Not upending the status quo but building on it, to create something sustainable and profitable. An evolution, not a revolution.
That’s why today, I’ve confirmed that key North Sea industries will be eligible for Labour’s British Jobs Bonus – a £2.5bn fund which will support businesses and catalyse investment in hydrogen, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and floating offshore wind.
This will help crowd in billions of pounds in private sector investment to create thousands of jobs for Scotland’s energy communities.
‘Race is on’
Make no mistake, there is a race on for this investment. A race to develop the technologies and industries which will power the next century. The knowledge, skills and infrastructure in the North Sea give us an advantage in that race – an advantage which we must seize now.
If we wait until North Sea oil and gas runs out, the opportunities will have passed us by.
This is why Labour’s mission is to make the UK a clean energy superpower. We will switch on a new publicly owned company, GB Energy – headquartered in Scotland – to invest in clean, homegrown power and lower bills.
Our plan will support up to 50,000 jobs in Scotland by 2030.
This is real ambition for Scotland and for Britain. I know it will be a challenge. I’ve led large organisations and I know that change requires hard graft. But over the past three years, I’ve changed the Labour Party – just as Anas Sarwar has changed Scottish Labour.
We are both ready to roll up our sleeves to work with you, to grab these opportunities.
‘Fix the mess’
Together, we can fix the mess that Tory and SNP Governments have created. The toxic combination of those two parties in Westminster and Holyrood has been an abject failure.
They don’t have your ambition, they’ve no vision for Scotland’s or Britain’s energy future, hopelessly distracted by infighting and short-term, sticking-plaster politics.
The road to making Britain a clean energy superpower runs through Scotland’s energy communities. Whether its establishing GB Energy, investing in Scotland’s ports or securing the future of technologies like CCS, hydrogen and offshore wind.
Together, let’s harness Aberdeen’s rich history of exploration, and chart a course to a prosperous, clean energy future.