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‘We must use our own oil and gas to save 200,000 jobs’ | UK | News UK News

Britain risks losing 200,000 jobs to overseas rivals if it refuses to make the most of its own oil and gas reserves, Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has warned.

Landmark legislation will go before MPs this week to ensure these sources of energy will be tapped in the decades ahead.

Labour opposes granting new oil and gas licences.

But the powerful GMB union warned that a ban would make the UK more reliant on imports and could endanger energy security.

Ms Coutinho, a rising star in the Conservative party and one of the Prime Minister’s closest allies, said: “We’ll still need oil and gas for decades to come, even when we reach net zero in 2050, as data from the independent Climate Change Committee shows.”

“It’s just common sense to make the most of what we can produce here, rather than shipping in more fuels from foreign regimes with higher emissions.”

“Sir Keir Starmer’s reckless plans to turn off the taps too soon would send 200,000 good jobs abroad, along with billions of pounds in tax revenue which we can use to support people with the cost of living.”

“It’s irresponsible to put British energy security at risk for the sake of ideology.”

Gary Smith, the general secretary of the GMB union, also warned against damaging operations in the North Sea, saying: “The UK will still need oil and gas in 2050 and beyond, so the unavoidable question is, where is it going to come from?”

“Banning new exploration and development will only accelerate the decline of production in the North Sea, leaving the UK even more dependent on energy imports to heat homes and power industry in future. That’s bad for our national security and prosperity.”

“We need domestic oil and gas supply alongside the investments of companies and skills of workers to get low-carbon technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen into our energy mix too. The GMB is clear. In an increasingly volatile world the UK needs plans and not bans for the future of our energy sector and the transition to net zero.”

Industry body Offshore Energies UK says the sector supports more than “200,000 good, skilled jobs across the UK”. It expected it would add more than £20billion to the UK economy in 2022-23.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary, fired back at the Tories, saying that “every family in the country is paying the price for 13 years of failed Conservative policy in record energy bills”.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-07 09:37:00

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