Shadow chancellor Ed Balls last night said that green investment would be at the centre of any future Labour government’s economic policy agenda.

Speaking during a debate held by campaign group Green Alliance, he repeated his call for chancellor George Osborne to commit to a 2030 decarbonisation target for the energy sector.

And writing in the New Statesman magazine before his speech, he said that a failure to invest in the green sector would lead to lost jobs and higher consumer bills in the long run.

In the article, he said of the coalition government’s failure to commit to a target: “My fear is that the UK currently risks snatching defeat from the jaws of potential victory.

“At the heart of this failure is chancellor George Osborne’s unholy alliance with his troublesome backbenchers.

“Faced with the choice between short-termist nods to hard-line Tory opinion or the strategic leadership that Britain needs, the chancellor has chosen the politically easy but economically reckless path.”

He said that business leaders and green campaigners had told him that the leadership required to encourage greater investment in renewable technologies was absent from the current government.

He added also slammed Osborne for linking a decision on whether to allow the new Green Investment Bank to borrow on the open market to meeting his target on national debt.

Balls said: “Now, thanks to his wider economic failure meaning he is now not set to meet that target until 2017, the bank has been left in limbo with neither co-investors nor the sector able to plan ahead.”

He said that a future Labour administration would give the bank greater borrowing powers “as soon as possible after the next election”.

In a report published alongside the debate, Green Alliance said that the UK already has planned investment in low carbon infrastructure of £180 billion between now and 2020.