Gordon Brown urges employers to transform UK into low-carbon economy

Gordon Brown has urged British employers to “seize the opportunity” to transform the UK to a low-carbon economy, which he claims will, in turn, create one million new jobs.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today, the prime minister said business plays a huge part in helping to reduce carbon emissions by 80%, not 60% as previously advertised, by 2050.

The government’s climate change committee will report by October on the case to lead the world on reducing emissions, Brown said, which will create modern green manufacturing with more new jobs.

He said: “I want British companies and British workers to seize the opportunity and lead the world in the transformation to a low-carbon economy, and I believe we can create in modern green manufacturing and service one million new jobs.”

Last month, the government released a manufacturing strategy, which urged businesses to exploit the commercial opportunities of ‘going green’ and which would help keep the UK as a base for the industry, rather than companies looking abroad for low-carbon products or parts.

Brown used the rest of his address to Labour delegates today to redefine what he and his party stands for. Like chancellor Alistair Darling on Monday, Brown was confident the economy would stabilise and reassured people his government had the right policies to deal with the collapse of world banks and the credit crunch. He talked about the forthcoming Equality Bill and new rights for agency workers as being part of Labour’s “fair” policy for employment.

He said: “We recognise the contribution that migrants make to our economy and our society, but the other side of welcoming newcomers who can help Britain is being tough about excluding those adults who won’t and can’t. That’s why we have introduced the Australian-style points-based system, the citizenship test, the English language test and we will introduce a migrant charge for public services.”

Brown also used his speech to attack the Conservative Party over several policy areas, including how David Cameron would have handled the Northern Rock crisis.

“Their policy was to let Northern Rock fold and imperil the whole financial system. Our Labour government saved Northern Rock so not a single UK depositor lost out.”

The Conservative Party meets in Birmingham for the start of its conference this Sunday.

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