Claudia Beamish - Conference 18
Claudia Beamish - Conference 18

Speech from Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Claudia Beamish MSP to Scottish Labour Conference

Dundee, Saturday 10 March 2018

Conference, an economy for the future must be an economy for the many not the few!

I want to thank Stuart Lansley for his wise words.

In an increasingly complex and often stark global context

It’s about

* what we want to do and how we plan it
* taking control to effect radical structural change fairly

Across all sectors, at all levels, and in all parts of the country – this is about

* the design and ownership of companies,
* about wealth
* and about land use.

Now that my proposed bill, with the support of so many in the labour movement, climate activists and NGOs alongside communities across Scotland, has helped stop onshore fracking, we can look to build a more sustainable, cleaner energy gaining, future.

The SNP Government’s recent final Climate Change Plan, that sets the parameters for climate action till 2032, has failed to robustly address how the heaviest greenhouse gas emitters (transport, agriculture, housing and energy) will shoulder their fair share leading to Scotland becoming a net zero emitting nation, honouring our commitments in the Paris Agreement.

The upcoming Climate Change Bill is the real opportunity to enshrine in law our labour movement values, underpinning the shift to the low carbon economy and society.

We have long been proposing a Just Transition Commission. This is endorsed by the Just Transition Trade Union Partnership.

* The STUC, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Unite, Unison, PCS and UCU.

How will such a Commission be funded?
Businesses must shoulder their fair share.
And such a Commission must be independent of Government and answerable to the Parliament.
Let’s ensure there is

* a REAL development of companies with excellently paid, unionised jobs
* support for communities in transition
* and carefully planned development of new initial and transferable skills whether for North Sea workers or plumbers fitting solar rooves.

This will form part of our robust and carefully planned Industrial Strategy.

The UK office of National statistics staes Scottish on shore wind projects supported 8000 josbs in 2016
And with an increase of 300% off shore wind employment was 2000.

We should give support to the GMB’s Contemporary Motion 15 which outlines failings so far and opportunities to build on successes, and how we must carefully plan for future success where the benefits are fairly shared.

– The Labour movement should not run from the challenges we face, it never has and we don’t intend on starting now. Labour movement solidarity has never been more vital!
– And recognising we do face challenges in energy, we need to grow a sustainable economy – because the SNP have sold us short on the infrastructure for renewables thus far
– The GMB’s Energy Commission proposal would allow us to pull the unique expertise that our party and movement has from shop floor; academia, scientists and industry experts
– This way we can develop policy that not only works for workers and communities now, but in the future

As highlighted in the Motion, now is also the time to get the infrastructure correct for decommissioning work and keep it here in Scotland before it is too late!

Conference
More broadly We must help create a secure manufacturing renaissance on all scales, across the supply chains, pinned into our plans for the future economy, for sustainable development.

Supporting and expanding local economies will be vital.
This includes co-operative and community models.

Let me share with you some success stories from my South Scotland Region –

Sunamp is an expanding company making heat storage systems for individual domestic use and for local housing associations, addressing fuel poverty.

And I have stood on a road surface made from recycled plastic bottles by MacRebur – keeping them out of the sea – remanufacturing as part of the circular economy.
This will be further helped by Scottish Labour’s lead for a Scottish Deposit Return Scheme.

And Tempest Brewery which I visited in Tweedbank, on Small Business Saturday, which is producing delicious beers for many outlets and yes ! it pays the Living Wage.

The newly branded Scottish National Investment Bank must have inclusive criteria to help new and expanding companies.
It should invest in public ownership and municipal models. And conversion investment must be developed to support new opportunities – stranded assets are in nobody’s interests.

Where there is public money supporting industry, such as in agriculture, there must be public good – a structure designed to support agroecology, our rural economies, and tackling food poverty.

For all this to work there must also be proper broadband connections across Scotland – the SNP promises on this are pretty hollow!

Conference
On land ownership we must extend current law to bring –

1. greater transparency to landholding and drive a redistribution of land assets to many more people and communities
I strongly welcome our Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard’s commitment to develop a radical programme of social and economic reform to deliver a redistribution of power and wealth.
By land sea and air we will work within the limits of our resources and protect them better, while creating new opportunities for the people of Scotland.
We must also develop ways to measure progress on the development of the prosperity of all Scotland’s people.
For the many not the few!!
I look forward to listening to this afternoon’s debates on our future economy.

Ends

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