Jessie Joe Jacobs has called for an “electric revolution” – with the Tees Valley in the driving seat of a new clean, green vehicle industry.
Labour’s Tees Valley mayoral candidate has unveiled her vision for a green future centred around ambitious plans to bring one of three proposed giant £500m gigafactories to the Tees and make the area a centre of excellence in a sector that could create 78,000 new jobs nationally over the next two decades.
Securing a gigafactory for Teesside would mean around 10,000 jobs in electric battery and fast-charge point technology manufacturing and the supply chain to support the growth of the pioneering sector.
And Jacobs is pushing for the Tees Valley to get one of the huge new sites.
“I will campaign day and night to make sure we get one of those factories here on the Tees,” said Jacobs. “We led the first industrial revolution and we can be the pioneers leading the next one.
“We have the people here with the skills and energy to make us the engine-room of a clean, green future for motoring.
“We built the world here, now it is time to protect it. We can lead the way in tackling the urgent climate crisis with real investment, real vision and creating real jobs fit for the future. We can deliver on this.”
She has also set out a Green Futures scheme to train up thousands of local young people in the green jobs of the future through fully funded green apprenticeships and training courses.
The Labour Party have unveiled an ambitious £1.5bn national plan to make a new generation of efficient electric cars affordable and boosting the switch to sustainable transport and a zero emission future.
“The Tees can be a focus for this new technology, creating a strong battery supply chain and fast recharging technology so the UK can build on a position as a leading electric vehicle producer and sell to the world,” continued Jacobs.
“It would bring high-skilled, world-leading future-proofed jobs to the area for our young people and give us a strong platform to rebuild our industrial base after 10 years of Tory decline.
“It fits in with my personal vision to shape a new Tees fit for the future. We must focus on green apprenticeships and train a generation of young people to work on the industries of the future, on electric, wind, solar and carbon capture.
“I plan to launch a Green Futures training scheme to bring in fully funded green apprenticeships and training to ensure local people benefit from the new industry and technology.
“I aim to train up an army of 10,000 workers with the skills to take on the jobs of the future.”
Labour are set to unveil sweeping plans to transform the British motoring industry with huge investment in not just the gigafactories but also a scrappage scheme for petrol cars and interest free loans to encourage the public to switch to electric.
In a speech on Thursday, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband outlined the radical plans.
• Back automotive manufacturers and create jobs by part-financing the creation of three new, additional gigafactories by 2025, shoring up Britain’s global leadership in the electric vehicle market
• Make electric vehicle ownership affordable by offering interest-free loans for new and used electric vehicles to those on low to middle incomes to remove the upfront cost barrier; and trialling a national scrappage scheme
• Make it easier for people to drive an electric vehicle, wherever they live, by accelerating the roll-out of charging points on streets and targeting areas left out like Yorkshire, the North-West and the West Midlands
“I believe that the future of the Tees is in new high-tech industries and we need to prepare the ground for that,” said Jacobs.
“We need to train our young people so they have the skills to join these new sectors.
“And we need to ensure that public sector bodies and local transport buy into electric and make the switch too.”
Labour aim to ensure that everyone in the country can benefit from the electric revolution. Low-income families are often priced out of electric vehicle ownership, with people in the South-East four times more likely to own an electric car than people in the Tees Valley.
In his speech Miliband set out Labour’s vision for a green economic recovery with “fairness at its heart”.
He said: “This green transformation could make us a fairer country; creating good, secure jobs; cleaning up the air we breathe and tackling pollution.
“For Labour, this is the absolutely central mission we face when it comes to the climate emergency. What we cannot do is put a green coat of paint on our unequal, insecure economy.
“Every worker whose job might change, every consumer who may face a change, has got to be at the centre of our concerns.
This is the DNA of Labour: Green and fair. Green and red together.”