Green recovery could deliver 1.2 million construction and manufacturing jobs

New analysis published by UK100, a group of over 100 mayors and local government leaders, suggests that up to 1.2 million jobs could be created across manufacturing and construction if the UK Government were to commit to a green recovery.

UK100 estimates that more than three million jobs are expected to be created as part of a national shift to the green economy, with these two sectors accounting for the majority of job opportunities.

Up to 90% of construction firms have applied for the furlough scheme, while manufacturers have had to pivot production lines during the pandemic to assist with the creation of protective equipment.

In fact, representatives from more than a dozen major construction organisations recently urged the Government to do more to close the existing green skills gap and to improve the skills pipeline, lest it risks missing its 2050 net-zero target.

UK100’s director Polly Billington said: “Across the UK, the move to a greener economy will create thousands of new jobs in every local community. It’s really important we don’t lose sight of this critical long-term goal – so the Prime Minister can meet his explicit goal of building back better.”

Interestingly, the analysis states that 24,000 green jobs could be created in Cumbria. It comes as the Government is set to intervene in the controversial plan to open a new coal mine in Cumbria, with a fresh inquiry as to whether it can be opened while keeping to national climate commitments mooted to take place.

More broadly, UK100 notes statistics from the UK Green Building Council, which estimates that to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, almost all of the UK’s 29 million homes will need to be improved through energy efficiency measures. This equates to retrofitting more than 1.8 homes every minute between now and 2050.

The Government is facing criticism for a decision to pull the majority of funding for the £2bn Green Homes Grant, less than a year after it was unveiled to improve household energy efficiency and play a key role in an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Green Homes Grants scheme was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Summer Economic Update to Parliament, which outlined measures to boost job growth as part of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of £2bn was earmarked for the new Green Homes Grant for those who do not live in social housing. The grant covers two-thirds of the cost of verified energy-saving home improvements – rising to 100% for the poorest households. Home improvements up to £10,000 were considered and the Government expected more than 600,000 UK homes to become more energy efficient as a result.

Calls for change

Last year, the group told the Government that more than 455,000 ‘white van’ jobs could be created across the UK’s property and construction sectors if the government increases funding for retrofit projects and green skills as part of its Covid-19 recovery package.

UK100 is basing its calculations upon a scenario in which at least a further £5bn is funnelled into the retrofit sector by the government, and in which the private sector takes note of this and follows suit, raising £40bn over the course of this Parliament.

Previous research from UK100, conducted in partnership with Siemens and EDF, concluded that the government could unlock £100bn of private investment in the green economy by allocating £5bn in a certain manner.

This figure includes the £40m for retrofit used to inform the above calculations, along with £10bn for renewables, £10bn for low-carbon heating, £10bn for ‘smart’ energy technologies and £10bn for low-emission transport.

edie’s sector-by-sector green recovery reports

Over the past 12 months, edie has collected data and spoken to leading sustainability and energy experts on how key UK sectors can achieve a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The reports have been created in assistance with an array of sponsors and uses exclusive results from edie’s green recovery survey of 243 sustainability and energy professionals. Read the key findings of the survey here.

The reports covered the key building blocks of the UK’s economy – the public sector, built environment, manufacturing, retail and hospitality and leisure – and how they can respond to unique challenges posed by the pandemic.

Read the reports here.

Matt Mace

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