Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his vision for a post-coronavirus Britain in a virtual party conference keynote speech on Tuesday, including ambitions for the UK to become the global leader in wind energy.
Closing the Conservative Party autumn conference, Johnson addressed party delegates in a pre-recorded message in which he called for a green recovery to overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of his "Build Back Greener" drive, he pledged that all homes in the UK would be powered by offshore wind energy by 2030.
In order to reach this target, Johnson announced that the UK government will be investing £160 million (€176 million) in building new generation wind turbines, including floating windfarms.
The investment, Johnson suggested, would be able to support over 60,000 new jobs directly and indirectly by the end of the decade.
"As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind – a place of almost limitless resource, but in the case of wind without the carbon emissions and without the damage to the environment," he said.
The UK's Green Party welcomed the announcement but warned more was needed.
In a statement, the party's co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: "For decades, Greens have been arguing that the UK is ideally placed to become a world leader in onshore and offshore wind power.
“But we have battled opposition from Conservative MPs locally and nationally as they sheltered their fossil fuel friends. Johnson’s support for wind power suggests that the transition to green energy is now irreversible."
He added: "However, the level of investment proposed by the Prime Minister is nowhere near matching his rhetoric. The £160 million [€176 million] for wind power due to be announced today falls far short of the £48 billion [€53 billion] that analysts say is necessary. The Government needs to set out where this investment will come from."
Johnson evoked the UK's postwar recovery in the wake of the Second World War, saying he planned a "new Jerusalem" for post-pandemic Britain in which opportunity, improved housing, education and healthcare would be available for all.
"We are resolving not to go back to 2019, but to do better: to reform our system of government, to renew our infrastructure; to spread opportunity more widely and fairly and to create the conditions for a dynamic recovery that is led not by the state but by free enterprise," he said.
Among the new policies he unveiled were plans for fixed-rate mortgages with 5 per cent deposits for young people looking to get on the property ladder. He also alluded to an insurance model to address problems in funding social care.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, posted her reaction to Johnson's speech on Twitter: "The British people needed to hear the PM set out how he will get a grip of the crisis. Instead we got the usual bluff and bluster and no plan for the months ahead.
"We end this Conservative conference as we started it: with a shambolic testing system, millions of jobs at risk and an incompetent government that has lost control of this virus and is holding Britain back."