A senior British political insider has urged Labour to locate its publicly-owned energy company in Aberdeen, should the party win the next General Election.

Labour believes GB Energy will reduce household bills, help deliver energy security through clean power and create thousands of high-quality jobs, although they've yet to set out how this model would operate.

Iain Anderson - who has just completed a business review on behalf of Labour and Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds - wants the party to "send a signal" amid fears that North-east jobs could be at risk under the Sir Keir Starmer's energy policies

Speaking on the Holyrood Sources podcast, Mr Anderson said: "I am not a Labour party spokesman, or a Labour Party member, but I'm backing them for the next election.

"The answer to me is really simple - for Keir (Starmer), for Ed (Miliband), and for Anas (Sarwar) - locate GB Energy in Aberdeen.

"You've got the agglomeration effect, you've got the skills, you've got the hub effect, you have the relationship between commerce, academia and investors. Send that signal - that's what I would say."

Mr Anderson - who was born and raised in Aberdeen and describes himself as "a professional Aberdonian" - is the founder of Cicero public relations group and is a well-known in Westminster circles, having previously advised former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He quit the Conservative Party last year after becoming disillusioned with its business strategy, and has since has been charged by Labour with drawing up a plan to bring business into the heart of government, if the party wins power.

'It makes complete sense'

Ryan Crighton, policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, has welcomed Mr Anderson's comments and said it makes "complete sense" for GB Energy to be located in Aberdeen.

"Great British Energy could see the government take a bigger stake in the energy transition and directly create a significant number of jobs in the renewables sector," he said.

"However, the only place where the necessary expertise exists to ensure it is successful is right here in the North-east of Scotland.

"We are the UK’s central hub for offshore engineering expertise, home to the greatest concentration of supply chain companies and globally recognised leaders in subsea technology — developed over decades of oil and gas and now primed and ready to make the switch to renewables.

"We have the lion’s share of Scotland’s North Sea wind projects off our shores, a new £420million south harbour, an adjacent Energy Transition Zone to anchor major companies and an Investment Zone currently in design to help attract new development.

"Add to that two world-class universities and a college with strong industry partnerships and great research and teaching staff. All the ingredients are here - it makes complete sense."

Energy policy concerns

Mr Anderson's intervention comes as Labour finds itself at the centre of a storm over the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry after announcing plans for a "proper" windfall tax on the sector.

Sir Keir Starmer has proposed extending and increasing the energy profits levy by three percentage points to 78%, and would also cut investment allowances and ban new drilling licences.

Unions have spoken out to raise their concerns about the plans, while analysts at investment bank Stifel have since suggested that anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 jobs could be at risk if North Sea investment is to cease.

Earlier this week, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought to ease those job fears by throwing his weight behind proposals for a new North Sea supergrid with Aberdeen at its heart.

He said: “Instead of us being resigned to fewer jobs and wealth coming from the North Sea in the years to come – and the job numbers running down from the current 120,000 – I can see the combination of three sources of energy- wind power, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen – generating more income and employment and Aberdeen enjoying a second renaissance as a centre for the new North Sea of the future.”

More like this…

View all