LABOUR has unveiled ambitious plans to transform the south west which include building a massive battery plant in Swindon.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry visited the Honda plant to speak to the media about the party’s manifesto for the region, which included £14 billion pounds of investment.

Part of this would go towards helping to build the battery plant in Swindon – potentially on the Honda site after it closes in 2021.

The rest of the cash would pay for increased home insulation, GWR electrification, broadband provision and council house construction around the south west.

Ms Thornberry said:”We are not afraid of nor apologising for borrowing to invest in infrastructure because it’s something that proper, responsible governments do.

“Like when you buy a house, you have to borrow money to buy the house, we need to do this to transform the economy and kickstart a green industrial revolution which changes the way we think and do things.

“I can’t give any promises on the timeline for the plant because we would need to find a private partner first and move forward as quickly as we can.

“We would match-fund every pound the partner puts in, which is a heck of an offer, so we’re sure we will be able to find a private partner for this development.

“I think this manifesto could really transform the south west, it’s exciting and shows that there is another, better way of living that could be offered if we have the opportunity to govern.”

The manifesto includes plans for an office of government for the south west made up of experts from local trade unions, chambers of commerce and councillors that would advise central government on the best places in the region to invest.

The Labour Party’s candidate for South Swindon Sarah Church said: “It’s about quality jobs and investment. I’ve long wanted us to be a green hub.

“The home insulation scheme alone will require thousands of people to carry out and these will be highly-skilled jobs with a decent wage which will make a massive difference to people in the town and lift our economy to where it should be.”

Ms Thornberry added: “I have no doubt that there would be strong lobbying for investment for Swindon from Sarah, she’ll have all the arguments and she’s a great advocate for the town.”

The battery plant plans were first revealed by shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey in September.

But Conservative candidate for North Swindon Justin Tomlinson remained unconvinced by Labour’s election promises.

Mr Tomlinson, defending his seat next month, criticised the proposed battery plant and dismissed the suggestion the NHS could be at risk in any USA trade deals.

He said: “Yet again, Labour are peddling fantasy politics to cruelly play on the hopes of Honda workers.

“Time and again they have been asked for details and they have no answers.

“It is only the Conservatives who are creating an environment for businesses to thrive, attracting investment which has seen 11,000 new jobs in Swindon since 2010.”

During her visit, Ms Thornberry voiced concerns about the NHS being undermined in trade deals with the US by pharmaceutical companies ‘hoping to raise the prices of their products.

Mr Tomlinson replied: “Every serious political commentator has dismissed their ridiculous and desperate lies about the NHS being up for sale. In Parliament, they have shamefully opposed every NHS increase we have delivered.

“A Conservative government will rightly increase funding by £34 billion, delivering 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more GPs and 50 million more GP appointments.”

“All of this is only possible with a strong, growing economy which is threatened by a hard-left anti-business Labour government.”