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Ed Miliband giving keynote speech at Innovation Zero conference in London, 1 May 2024

01 May 2024 - The Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero was delivering a keynote address at the Innovation Zero conference in London today when he quoted Beverley Cornaby’s stance on governments needing to provide consistency for business.

During a policy-heavy address at the UK’s biggest net zero congress, Ed Miliband quoted Beverley Cornaby, Director of the UK Corporate Leaders Group (CLG UK), reading her reaction to yesterday’s speech by Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho. 

“As Beverley Cornaby, Director of the UK Corporate Leaders Group, said yesterday, ‘We know what businesses in fact need most of all is consistency. Growth is being hampered by constantly changing policy’. And I agree with her,” announced Miliband. 

This comes in response to yesterday’s speech at the Innovation Zero conference by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho: “We are at a fork in the road. The first path is one I do not want to take us down… where government dictates outputs and prices, and a net zero leviathan of central planning crushes our brilliant enterprise economy. The second is where we live with some uncertainty, knowing that it is one of the key stimulants of risk and product development that competes to win over consumers.” 

CLG UK Director Cornaby stressed that businesses need, in fact, certainty - with a quote on CLG’s social channels: “Whilst we welcome the Energy Secretary saying that the UK should be committed to unlocking innovation and allowing market forces to deliver net zero, we also know what businesses need most of all is certainty.  

“UK growth is being hampered by constantly changing policy. That is why investment remains slow. In order to properly unlock innovation, we need a clear, consistent, long-term vision from Government on how the UK will reach its climate targets,” Cornaby wrote.  

During Miliband’s keynote speech, and following conversation on stage with journalist David Shukman, he discussed why Labour postponed its £28bn green investment promise; why governments must set the framework to help the private sector do what it’s best at; and the imperative need to move to clean energy. 

Mr Miliband highlighted the need for innovation; a clear direction of travel from government; and breaking down the barriers of grid delays, planning delays, supply chain problems, and the skills gaps.  

He concluded his address with a call to action to put aside political differences: “This issue goes beyond normal party politics. So, I don't care which party you support or which sector you are in. My message is if you have good ideas before or after the election, I want to work with you. A truly national mission, government, business, civil society, and citizens. The stakes are too high to do anything else. This is a moment in history where we will all be judged for how we respond.” 

CLG UK works to bring the voice of progressive business to policymakers, helping foster collaboration between the public and private sector in pursuit of net zero. 

Read our CLG UK Director Beverley Cornaby's op-ed about how UK businesses want a consistent net zero policy

Read more about CLG UK's engagement with policymakers

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Zoe Kalus, Head of Media

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