Keir Starmer has announced a £30bn plan to revive UK manufacturing by creating 400,000 green jobs.

In an attempt to mitigate the blow to employment caused by Covid-19, the Labour leader said the proposed investment in secure low-carbon jobs would have knock-on effects across the economy.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be supported in manufacturing sectors including steel, offshore wind, automotive and aerospace, Starmer said.

Labour hopes to win back support in once safe seats in the Midlands and the north of England that were lost to the Conservatives in the 2019 election, but faces the prospect of losing another “red wall” seat – Hartlepool – in a byelection next month.

Starmer, who has been under pressure to boost Labour’s low standing in opinion polls by coming up with fresh policy ideas, said: “Labour’s plan to create hundreds of thousands of jobs would boost employment right across the country, creating secure employment in clean industries including our country’s vital manufacturing industries.

“Under the Conservatives, our manufacturers have been neglected, putting jobs at risk while ministers have done favours for their friends. The people of Britain deserve better – opportunities, fairness and good jobs in their communities which are a source of pride and dignity. The Conservatives can’t be trusted to deliver that.”

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Starmer also called on the government to revitalise its flagship Kickstart scheme for long-term young unemployed people after it was revealed this week that only a fraction of the under-25s who have lost their jobs in the pandemic are on work placements.

Although the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said 100,000 places had been lined up for young people, the employment minister, Mims Davies, revealed in a Commons written answer this week that fewer than 12,000 had started work with an employer.

Labour said Kickstart was helping less than 4% to 16- to 25-year-olds who had lost their job over the last year, and that for every 29 young people made unemployed during the pandemic, Kickstart had found work for just one.

In the south-east, nearly 76,000 young people had lost their job over the past year but there had only been 1,200


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