The shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer exchanged her business suit and briefcase for a hard hat and hi-viz waistcoat to tour an innovative plant making fuel from waste in Swindon.

And Rachel Reeves said she wanted a Labour government to help such businesses scale up to help make Britain, and Swindon, a green energy superpower.

Accompanied by the leader of the Labour group of borough councillors, Jim Robbins, Ms Reeves was shown around the ABSL biomass fuel plant in South Marston by the company’s chief executive Andy Cornell.

He told the politicians how the plant can take any form of non-recyclable waste and heat it in a specialist furnace to produce a mixture of hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Corporate development director Oliver Chesser said: "It produces very little residue, and no gas escapes – there are no emissions.”

Most of the hydrogen and carbon dioxide is combined to produce bio-methane, which is transferred into the national grid, and used in a wide range of ways, including in homes.

Some of the gases are also used for industrial applications.

After her tour, Ms Reeves told the Local Democracy Reporter: “The work that’s happening here is the innovation we need to see in all parts of the country.

“This could help us get to our net zero ambitions faster.”

Labour has pledged itself to Britain having the highest rate of economic growth in the G7 and Ms Reeves said: “What’s happening here in ABSL in Swindon is absolutely generating that growth and good jobs.

“There is a global race to be a green energy superpower, for those jobs and industries. Some country will be the global leader in that, why not Britain?

“We’ve seen here today, we have the skills and innovation and entrepreneurialism – what we need is a government which gets behind these sorts of companies and helps them doing it at scale.”

To help that Ms Reeves said Labour will set up GB Energy,  a national green energy company and also a national wealth fund.

She said: “We should have set up a national wealth fund when we discovered North Sea oil to get a return for taxpayers. It will work alongside business, in this new industrial revolution, to invest in the sort of innovation I’ve seen here in Swindon.”