Keir Starmer has pledged to make Scotland “once again the beating heart of Britain” as he committed to basing a new public energy company and creating 50,000 green jobs north of the Border.

The Labour leader was speaking in Leith as he set out his full energy blueprint for aUK Labour government in waiting.

The ambitious strategy includes issuing no new exploration licences for North Sea oil and gas companies, but an acknowledgement was made by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves that fossil fuels will be needed “into the 2050s”.

Labour plans also include a local power plan to allow households across the UK to receive discounts on their bills if their area signs up to new green initiatives.

The party’s proposed new public body, GB Energy, would be based in Scotland and would make available up to £600 million in funding for councils and up to £400 million in low-interest loans each year for communities.

The party is pledging to take up to £1,400 off household bills and £53 billion off energy bills for businesses by 2030 with its plans.

Sir Keir has also stressed that renewables production can be kept within the UK instead of going overseas, under his proposals.

But concerns have been raised after Labour U-turned on its £28 billion green prosperity fund, with the shadow chancellor announcing the funding will be loaded in later years due to financial circumstances.

Read more: Keir Starmer to promise to cut energy bills

Sir Keir was speaking at Nova Innovation’s headquarters in the Scottish capital, as he insisted his strategy “will power us forward towards net zero, generate growth right across the country, end the suffocating cost-of-living crisis, and get Putin’s boot off our throat with real energy security”.

Sir Keir said he could offer a “bridge to a better future”, but appreciated that “fossil fuel energy plays a huge role in the Scottish economy”.

He added: “It’s also part of the social fabric. Communities depend on it. The jobs it provides, good jobs for working people, they’re precious,” he said.

“I’m not going to give you a moral sermon about the urgency of climate change, everyone gets that argument.

“What I offer is a plan: a new course through stormy waters, a bridge to a better future.”

The UK Labour leader said he hopes for a “Scotland that is once again the beating heart of Britain”.

Read more: Scottish Labour back Starmer's oil and gas ban despite union concern

He said: “Because Britain is once again built for and by the solidarity of working people. So let me say directly to those people in Scotland, nervous about the change this mission requires – I know the ghosts industrial change unearths…

“Deep down, we all know this has to happen eventually and that the only question is when.

“So, in all candour, the reality is this, the moment for decisive action is now.

“If we wait until North Sea oil and gas runs out, the opportunities this change can bring for Scotland and your community will pass us by, and that would be a historic mistake.

“An error, for the future of Scotland, as big as the Thatcher government closing the coal mines, while frittering away the opportunity of the North Sea.”

Sir Keir added: “Some nation is going to lead the world in offshore wind, why not this one?

Read more: Starmer told communities will be 'decimated' by oil and gas ban

“Some nation will win the race for new hydrogen power, why not us?

“Some nation will become a clean energy superpower, why not Britain?”

Asked about the future of Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas sector, the shadow chancellor said that her party insisted “there will be jobs in oil and gas until the 2050s”, adding that “those jobs aren’t going anywhere”.

Labour’s shadow climate secretary, Ed Miliband, added: "We want green jobs to be a by-word for highly paid, good unionised jobs.

“We know that is a challenge and it is a challenge we are throwing down to the industry as well.”

Analysis suggests that around 70,000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the Scottish oil and gas sector.

Asked whether he appreciated the 50,000 green jobs commitment would not be a like-for-like replacement, Mr Miliband told The Herald that he “does not acknowledge that”.

He added: “There are 28,000 people directly employed in the North Sea.

“We are absolutely confident that when it comes to those jobs, when it comes to supply chain jobs, we want both proper alternatives and the North Sea is going to operate for decades to come.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf said Labour cannot be trusted on energy.

The Herald: Humza YousafHumza Yousaf (Image: PA)

He said: “I am not sure anybody will trust a Labour party on the green economy just two weeks after they dump their £28 billion green prosperity fund.”

He added that Labour governments had “squandered not tens but hundreds of billions (of pounds) of oil and gas revenue” and only invested a fraction of this in Scotland.

But he said Sir Keir Starmer’s party is now asking Scots to “somehow be thankful that they are going to set up a part of a government department if they win a general election”.

Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Liam Kerr, labelled Sir Keir’s strategy “an economically and environmentally illiterate policy that betrays north east Scotland”.

He added: “Despite his desperate attempts at re-spinning it in recent days, the Labour leader is sticking stubbornly to his disastrously-received and catastrophic position of banning all new oil and gas projects.

“We all want a just transition to net zero – but the clue is in the name. There’s nothing ‘just’ about abandoning skilled workers, while we’re still reliant on oil and gas.”