Ministers at Labour Conference slam Tories

The first electoral battle lines over which party will best support the low carbon economy were drawn yesterday, after junior business minister Pat McFadden told attendees at the first day of the Labour Party conference in Brighton that the government was better equipped than the opposition to accelerate the growth of the emerging low carbon industries that will both cut emissions and create jobs.

Characterising the Conservatives as having "absolutely nothing to say" on low carbon economic strategy, McFadden argued that Labour better understood that the development of new green businesses represents an "enormous industrial opportunity".

"It's a new industrial revolution," he said. "And as a country we have a simple choice. We either buy the new technologies involved from elsewhere or vow to be part of their creation. So when it comes to green energy, when it comes to low carbon vehicles, let our ambition be that the term 'Made in Britain' is at the heart of our economic future."

He argued that such a transition would not be possible without active government intervention and co-operation between business and the public sector, adding that the low carbon economy will "be at the heart of Labour's manifesto, where the power of government, the excellence of British education and science and the creativity of our companies is brought together to make our country a leader in the new jobs of the future".

His comments were echoed by energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband, who said that the Conservatives opposition to the government's planning reforms undermined their green credentials.

"Business as usual gives a veto to the minority who say no nuclear, no wind power, and no clean coal either," he said. "But being bold means reforming the planning system as we are the only party committed to do, and the Tories have refused to do, and standing up in the face of the minority who would say "no" to every form of low-carbon energy."

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