SIR Keir Starmer has promised to launch a publicly owned energy company within the first year of a Labour government.

The party said the Great British Energy firm would help cut bills and deliver tens of thousands of highly skilled, well-paid jobs for Scotland.

In his keynote speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool, Sir Keir told delegates: “We will make sure that the public money we spend building up British industry spurs on private investment, stimulates growth in construction, life sciences, finance and insurance and that British people enjoy the returns. 

“We won't make the mistake that Tories made with the North Sea oil and gas back in the 1980s when they frittered away the wealth from our national resources. 

“Just look at what's happening at the moment. The largest onshore wind farm in Wales, who owns it? Sweden. Energy bills in Swansea are paying for schools and hospitals in Stockholm. 

“The Chinese Communist Party has a stake in our nuclear industry and five million people in Britain pay their bills to an energy company owned by France. 

“So we will set up great British energy within the first year of a Labour government.”

He said the new company would take advantage of the “opportunities in clean British power” and help deliver jobs and growth and give Britain “energy independence from tyrants like Putin.”

“None of this will be easy,” he warned. “It's not like flicking a switch. It will mean tough battles on issues like planning and regulation. But when the Tories naysay or carp, remember this: The road to net zero is no longer one of stern, austere self-denial. It's at the heart of modern 21st century aspiration. 

“Technology’s turned everything on its head. Green and growth just go together, they’re inseparable. The future wealth of this country is in our air, in our seas, in our skies. Britain should harness that wealth and share it with all. British power to the British people.”

HeraldScotland: PAPA (Image: PA)

Sir Keir was given a significant boost ahead of the speech, with YouGov suggesting Labour would win 45% of the vote at a general election, while the Tories would only manage 28%.

The survey - carried out over the weekend for the Times -  shows widespread dissatisfaction among voters with the Government’s mini-budget. 

Around 72% of voters – including 69% of those who voted Tory in 2019 – opposed Kwasi Kwarteng’s move to axe the top rate of 45% tax for those earning more than £150,000.

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour would win the election by beating the Tories on the economy

He told delegates: “If they want to fight us on redistribution, if they want to fight us on workers’ rights, if they want to tell us working people don’t come first, we’ll take them on – and we will win.

“And we will win not just because we have fairness on our side but because we have economic reason on our side too. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Britain won’t be better off just because we make the rich richer. ”

He said the economic record of the Tory government was "appalling".

With the party looking increasingly likely to form the next government, the conference in Liverpool has been a far more united and disciplined affair than normal.

There has been little of the infighting or factionalism that has dominated the annual get-togethers in recent years. 

Sir Keir told the delegates that the party had needed to change to become “fit to serve our country.”

He said: “That’s why we had to rip antisemitism out by its roots, why we had to show our support for Nato is non-negotiable, show we want business to prosper, shed unworkable policies.

“Country first, party second.”

He said the party needed to be the "political wing of the British people".

He added: “Let’s not kid ourselves: the next two years will be tough. The Tories want a fifth term and they will stop at nothing to achieve it.

“And because of their record, because of the state of Britain, they are getting desperate. With so little that’s good to defend, they will lash out.

“We need to be prepared, disciplined, focused, spend each day working to earn the trust of the British people. Meet their attacks with hope, provide the leadership this country so desperately needs.

“Because as in 1956, 1964, 1997: this is a Labour moment.”

Sir Keir also rejected any agreement with the SNP.

There was rapturous applause from the delegates, as he told them: “We can’t work with them, we won’t work with them. No deal under any circumstances."

Responding to the Labour leader's comments, the SNP's Westminster Deputy leader Kirsten Oswald said he had "failed to set out anything new or of substance to Scotland."

"They also reaffirmed yet again that only with independence will we be able to escape damaging Westminster control and repeated Tory governments for good," she added.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar praised the speech and the policy announcement on energy: “That was a vision from Keir Starmer to transform the UK and Scotland with a government on the side of working people. 

“At its heart was a pledge for a publicly owned energy company that will deliver tens of thousands of high skilled, well paid jobs for Scotland, all while bringing down energy bills. 

“Meanwhile, the SNP have broken promise after promise - scrapping a plan for a public energy company and selling the profits from our green energy future to multinationals on the cheap. 

“At the next general election, the choice couldn’t be clearer. 

“Only Labour can boot out the Tories and make Scotland a fairer greener nation.”