Scotland politics

McDonnell pledges 'green revolution' jobs

John McDonnell Image copyright PA
Image caption John McDonnell said nationalisation of the energy network and new investment could create thousands of jobs

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has told Scottish Labour's conference that a "green industrial revolution" could create 50,000 jobs in Scotland.

The MP told delegates in Dundee that Scotland could be "at the heart" of developments in renewable energy.

And he said the governments in Edinburgh and London were not doing enough to tackle climate change.

UK and Scottish party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard addressed the conference on Friday and Saturday.

Both leaders also addressed green issues in their speeches, with Mr Leonard setting out a vision of "free bus travel for all" and Mr Corbyn saying there was "no bigger threat to our future" than climate change.

Mr McDonnell told the conference that there needed to be better economic and environmental planning to "tackle humanity's greatest challenge - climate change".

He said this would include nationalisation of the energy network, and an expansion of infrastructure and investment in energy generation in the Western Isles in particular.

He said: "Politicians of all parties have talked about the fourth industrial revolution. Under Labour, that will be a green industrial revolution.

"In the future, under Labour, Scotland will be at the heart of a green industrial revolution in our energy sector that could save the planet."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr McDonnell was speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee

The Shadow Chancellor said Scottish hydro, wind and wave power were "essential to achieving the transition to the sustainable fuel sources that we need", and said the party's "ambitious plans" for developing these sectors could create tens of thousands of jobs.

Hitting out at the dividends paid by energy companies in recent years, he said: "Putting control of our energy sector in the hands of the public, with a mandate to cut through the short-sighted decision making of the privateers, can we unlock the true potential of Scottish energy."

In response, a Scottish Power spokeswoman said the firm "supports thousands of jobs" in Scotland, and have "consistently invested and spent more in Scotland and the UK than we have made in profit or paid in dividends".

The Scottish Conservatives said Labour were "out of ideas" and "seem to think that nationalisation will solve all problems".