Brown promises green New Deal

Gordon Brown has pledged to work with fellow world leaders to tackle the environmental challenge in 2009 and unveiled plans for a New Deal-style programme to create up to 100,000 jobs - including more green collar jobs.

In his New Year message, the Prime Minister said the environment, security and the economy were the three major challenges that Britain faces over the next 12 months.

He said that he looked forward to working with US President Elect Barack Obama to create a transatlantic “coalition for change”, and negotiating a global agreement at the Copenhagen Summit.

Mr Brown said: “The pace of climate change is such that it not only threatens future generations, but imperils our generation today.”

He added that Britain must begin building the “green future of tomorrow, today” to ensure the creation of thousands of jobs in the environmental sector.

Plans for more green jobs were also laid out in an exclusive New Year interview with The Observer newspaper, where the Prime Minister revealed details of an investment programme that echoes President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.

Speaking at his family home in Scotland, Mr Brown said public money would be pumped into projects such as school repairs, new rail links and hospital projects to reduce levels of unemployment.

Other cash will also be invested in eco-friendly projects such as electric cars and wind and wave power.

Mr Brown told the paper: “I want to show how we will be able, through public investments and public works, to create probably 100,000 additional jobs over the next period of time in our capital investment programme – schools, hospitals, environmental work and infrastructure, transport.

“We are not going to stand by and allow nothing to be done when people are facing difficulties.”

According to The Observer, he also claimed his green plans would be bigger than Barack Obama’s own ambitious multi-billion-dollar investment in green schemes to boost the economy (see related story).

The Prime Minister’s comments come just weeks after Chris Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, urged Government to adopt a “green New Deal”.

Kate Martin

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