UK lagging far behind G7 peers for green job creation

2nd June 2021

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Elaine Walker

The UK government's investment plans for green jobs lag far behind those of most G7 countries, potentially undermining its net-zero emissions target, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned.

In a new report, the TUC highlights how the UK plans to invest just £182 per person on green jobs and programmes following the COVID-19 crisis.

This contrasts sharply with the £2,961 of per capita investment that the US is allocating for a green recovery, including spending on public transport, electric vehicles and energy efficiency retrofits.

The corresponding figures for Italy, Canada, France and Germany are £1,389, £866, £711 and £595, respectively, with Japan the only G7 country planning to invest less per person than the UK, on £108.

By scaling up investment to match the rest of the G7, the researchers said that the UK could kickstart its economy while building more competitive domestic industries and creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

“The UK is falling well behind the rest of the G7 in the race to benefit from net-zero industry,” said TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady.

“Good green jobs should be at the heart of our economic recovery from the pandemic, but the prime minister’s plans are nowhere near ambitious enough.

“The government should look to the rest of the G7, and put more money into green jobs and infrastructure. It’s a chance to replace the jobs lost in the pandemic and level up the UK.”

The UK's existing investment plans could create 44,000 green jobs over the next decade, however, the TUC said this could increase to between 338,000 and 721,000 by matching the spending of Italy or the US.

It warned that, on current trends, the UK will fail to create the quality green jobs needed, and will lose out on building domestic competitive advantage from tidal stream, hydrogen, electric vehicles and clean steel.

Ahead of the G7 summit next week, the TUC is calling on the UK government to allocate £85bn for emergency green infrastructure, which would move the country up to third position in the G7 league table and create a million quality green jobs.

“Every area needs good green jobs, close to home,” O’Grady continued. “We can revitalise towns and communities that have lost traditional industries, and make better jobs available to the millions in insecure jobs on poverty pay.

“Seizing the G7 moment by allocating £85bn for emergency green infrastructure, and the one million good green jobs that come with it, would show real leadership when the country needs it most.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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