Jeremy Corbyn declares war on 'greed is good' capitalism and criticises politicians who brought it back from the dead

The Labour leader took an apparent swipe at Gordon Brown who was at the centre of bank bailout efforts 

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 26 September 2018 09:25 BST
Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour party conference in Liverpool

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Jeremy Corbyn will vow to tear up decades of economic thinking in a major speech today, denouncing “greed is good” capitalism while pledging to pump billions of pounds of public money into green industries.

The leader will also attack politicians who “strained every sinew” to bail out the banks, words that risk being seen as criticism of the former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Corbyn will pledge to rebuild a new kind of economy based on green energy – with an unprecedented expansion in wind power, solar panels on every roof and a drive to insulate all homes.

He will argue that the push, funded in part by the taxpayer, will deliver a “green jobs revolution” with 400,000 new posts – although an identically named policy promising the same number of positions was also pledged by Mr Brown in 2009.

Mr Corbyn will deliver his speech to hundreds of delegates in Liverpool on the final day of a Labour conference which comes as the party prepares for an opportunity to snatch power if Theresa May’s administration collapses under the pressure of Brexit.

Promising to radically overhaul the economy, Mr Corbyn will say: “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.

“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.

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

Former Labour leader Mr Brown played a pivotal role in bailing out the banks in 2008 and delivering policy to prop up the financial system until he left power after the 2010 election.

More recently he has made critical comments about his successor, saying, “Jeremy Corbyn has got to change” and calling on him to remove the “stain” of antisemitism to the party.

But Mr Corbyn’s officials insisted on Tuesday night that the leader was not directly attacking Mr Brown in his speech or the notion that an urgent bailout of banks had been needed in 2008.

Instead they said he was targeting the broader efforts to maintain the same financial system, with vast sums of money pumped in through quantitative easing, leading to asset bubbles that did not benefit lower income households.

Mr Corbyn will set out how his new economy will be underpinned by a mushrooming green-energy sector – he will pledge to deliver with a plan to reduce net carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2030.

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To achieve this he will pledge a doubling in onshore wind capacity from some 7,000 turbines currently to 14,000 turbines, a sevenfold increase in offshore turbines from around 1,900 to 13,300 and a trebling of solar panels – with one placed on “all viable UK roofs” – increasing the share of electricity coming from low carbon or renewable sources from 50 per cent to 85 per cent.

Labour has set aside £12.8bn in its National Transformation Fund to cover the insulation programme in its first term.

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

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Other costs will be covered by the private sector, according to Labour, with changes to planning guidance for onshore wind to encourage investment.

Party researchers estimate these actions would create a “green jobs revolution” with an additional 410,000 positions spread across the UK.

Mr Corbyn will say: “It means working with industry to change the way we build, and to train the workforce to retrofit homes and work in the industries we will build.

“It needs a government committed to investing in renewables, in jobs and in training.

“I can announce today that Labour will kickstart a green jobs revolution.”

In March 2009 Mr Brown also promised a “green jobs revolution” that would deliver 400,000 new jobs, but a year later – before his government left office – a report from the same consultancy that came up with the jobs figure said it would be too difficult to achieve.

David Cameron also promised a “green revolution”, although he ended up cutting subsidies for relevant industries and by 2013 reportedly said that “green crap” needed to be scrapped from his agenda.

But Mr Corbyn’s officials argued that his programme would be different because it will involve substantial amounts of investment and a government committed to regulating for the changes.

His spokesman told The Independent: “Sadly Labour lost the election in 2010, and as we’ve seen the government has retreated from green energy commitments in both practical ways and in terms of cash.

“Obviously since the Gordon Brown government there have been changes in policy across the range – we are talking about a significantly more interventionist programme.”

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