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Labour members launch Green New Deal inspired by US activists

Labour members have launched a grassroots campaign to push the party to adopt a radical Green New Deal to transform the UK economy, tackle inequality and address the escalating climate crisis. The group, inspired by the success of the Sunrise Movement and the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US, is calling on Labour to commit to radical action to decarbonise the UK economy within a decade. A spokesperson for the group, called Labour for a Green New Deal, said: “Climate change is fundamentally about class, because it means chaos for the many while the few profit. “We’re starting a campaign to put the labour movement at the forefront of a green transformation in Britain, and to build grassroots support for a Green New Deal within the Labour party.” The campaign is calling for a region-specific green jobs guarantee, a significant expansion of public ownership and democratic control of industry, as well as mass investment in public infrastructure. The group intends to put pressure on the party to fulfil those pledges in the run-up to the Labourconference in September. Leading members of the group recently met Zack Exley, an adviser to Ocasio-Cortez and a co-founder of the progressive group the Justice Democrats, to learn from the success of the Green New Deal campaign in the US. They are also in discussions with founding members of the Sunrise Movement, the youth-led group linked with Ocasio-Cortez that has been at the forefront of the US campaign for a Green New Deal. The spokesperson said: “As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement have argued in the US, a Green New Deal shouldn’t just be about decarbonising our economy; it should be a radical vision for a healthier, happier and more prosperous society. “According to the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], we may only have 11 years left to limit the worst of the climate crisis. But that’s 11 years in which we could change everything.”

Greg Clark accused of misleading MPs over £61m payment to Nissan

Labour has accused the business secretary, Greg Clark, of misleading MPs by failing to tell parliament that a £61m package of state aid had been granted to Nissan, despite assuring the Commons that he would do so. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said that as a result the cabinet minister had “dodged scrutiny” over the promises he had made to Nissan in October 2016 to boost manufacturing in Sunderland after Brexit. The business secretary promised MPs from the floor of the Commons that any offer of taxpayer support for Nissan would ultimately be reported to parliament once it had formally been agreed, in remarks seized upon by Labour. Clark said on 31 October 2016 that all proposals for state aid were “subject to rigorous external scrutiny” by the independent Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB) and were reported on to parliament. A package worth £61m was ultimately granted to Nissan in June 2018, but it was kept secret until earlier this month, when the Japanese car maker changed its mind, and decided it would not make the X-Trail SUV in Sunderland after all. Car makers have repeatedly warned of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit, with Ford and Toyota and the trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders among those who have gone public with their concerns. Last week, Rachel Reeves, the chair of the business select committee, extracted a promise from Clark that he would in future notify the committee every time a company had been granted a state aid package. A total of £150m in state aid to car makers, including Toyota, Ford and BMW has also been granted without MPs being made aware of them, in a wide-ranging programme to help key manufacturers retain confidence in the UK after the country leaves the European Union. Richard Harrington, a junior business minister, confirmed in a written answer that while the £61m package was scrutinised by the IDAB, parliament was not notified. Justifying Clark’s decision, Harrington said: “Only if the secretary of state wished to act contrary to the board’s recommendation (which was not the case with the Nissan award), he shall (if the board [the IDAB] requests) lay a statement before parliament.” The junior minister added: “There is no obligation to do so when he acts in accordance with their recommendation.”