POLITICS
25/09/2018 22:30 BST | Updated 26/09/2018 13:33 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Vows To End ‘Greed-Is-Good’ Capitalism And Start Green Jobs Revolution Instead

Conference speech will include swipe at Gordon Brown's bailout of the bankers.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise to replace “greed-is-good” capitalism with a green jobs revolution to make Britain a world leader in the fight against climate change.

In his party conference speech on Wednesday, the Labour leader will unveil a pledge to create 400,000 skilled jobs by building thousands more wind turbines, insulating millions of homes – and installing a solar panel on every roof in the UK. 

Corbyn will also use the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crash to tell the gathering in Liverpool that voters are still paying the price for mistakes made by the ruling and financial elite.

In what will be seen as a swipe at Gordon Brown’s handling of the crisis, he will say that “the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place”.

The Labour leader will seek to build on last year’s radical general election manifesto and on the conference theme of taking wealth and power from the richest and redistributing it to ordinary Britons.

He will cite environmental policy as a key way to prove the party’s radicalism, promising to cut net carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 and to zero by 2050 through a major expansion of offshore and onshore wind turbines.

“There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change. We must lead by example,” Corbyn will tell the conference.

“Our energy plans would make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations. Labour will kickstart a green jobs revolution.”

Labour Party
Labour's new research

A lifelong environmentalist, Corbyn has managed to attract support from both the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats since he became Labour leader.

The planned home insulation programme will create 160,000 jobs alone, spread across the UK.

Aides said the new proposals were a ‘two term’ ambition, acknowledging that most of the work would have to take place between 2020 and 2030.

In a new analysis, the party vows to cut heat demand from buildings by almost one quarter, provide 85% of electricity demand from low- or no-carbon sources and deliver 44% of heating demand from renewables.

Labour would almost triple the UK’s installed solar PV capacity by 2030 to 35GW, with a combination of large and small-scale installations, “installing solar PV on all viable UK roofs”, its report states.

Corbyn’s green policies are being pitched as a key part of his wider bid to change the way the economy works and “rebuild and transform Britain” after years of Tory austerity.

PA Archive/PA Images
Former Labour Prime Minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown

But he will also use his keynote speech to signal that New Labour’s own ‘light touch’ regulation of the City, as well as Gordon Brown’s decision to pump billions into the banks in the 2008 crisis, was part of the problem.

“Ten years ago this month, the whole edifice of greed-is-good, deregulated financial capitalism, lauded for a generation as the only way to run a modern economy, came crashing to earth, with devastating consequences,” he will say.

“But instead of making essential changes to a broken economic system, the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place.

“People in this country know - they showed that in June last year - that the old way of running things isn’t working any more.”

At the peak of the banking crisis, the UK government had liabilities worth £1.2 trillion. 

In Brown’s emergency bailouts, the taxpayer bought £45bn of shares in RBS and almost £20bn in Lloyds.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
RBS was part-nationalised to the tune of £45bn

The National Audit Office estimated £850m was poured into the system by the Bank of England as it used so-called Quantitative Easing to ‘print money’ and buy up assets.

Last year a Bank of England policy chief said it should ‘think about’ winding down the policy, but Bank Governor Mark Carney has said that interest rates would have to rise before QE could be unwound substantially.

A Labour spokesperson said that Corbyn was not criticising Brown for trying to stabilise the system. 

But he added: “The issue was about how that bailout was carried out. In relation to the financial easing, there are different ways to have that financial easing to avoid it having the effect that it did.

“In other words, it created bubbles in financial asset values and there’s more than one way to skin a cat in terms of pumping liquidity into the economy in such situations.”

The spokesman stressed that the United States’ bank bailouts were more damaging than the UK’s, but Britain had also helped fuel an asset bonanza for the richest.

“The way it was done, even more than America than here but here as well, led to greater inequality in an already unequal economic and financial system.

“The costs of the bailout were significantly higher than they needed be in terms of nationalisation of RBS and the stake in Lloyds.

“And then of course the huge sums that were committed to both quantitative easing and other forms of financial guarantees, were done in ways which in practice favoured asset owners and the wealthy in society and of course the austerity programme has been at the expense of the poorest.”