Up to 660,000 jobs will be at serious risk if the UK continues to fall behind other countries in the amount it invests in green infrastructure and jobs research by the TUC reveals.
79,000 jobs are at risk in the UK rubber and plastic sector, 63,200 in the UK chemicals sector and 26,900 in iron and steel. In total it says that 260,000 manufacturing jobs could be at risk as well as 407,000 in supply chains.
The report by the TUC makes clear that the impact on employment in the UK as a result of jobs moving “offshore” to countries in the vanguard of green investment and technology will be particularly acute in the UK’s industrial heartlands in the north-west, Yorkshire and the Humber.
The TUC in June found that the UK is second from bottom in the league table of G7 economies for its record in investment in green investment and jobs.
While the UK is expected to invest only about £180 per person on green recovery and jobs over the next decade, Biden plans to allocate more than £2,960 per person on a green recovery in the US: jobs and programmes involving public transport, electric vehicles and energy efficiency retrofits.
Relative to population, the UK’s green recovery investment is just 24% that of France, 21% that of Canada, and 6% that of the US.
Jobs in UK sectors such as the steel industry are at grave risk because manufacturing is still dependent on the environmentally damaging process of burning coal at high temperatures. Other countries are blazing a trail in technologies that allow “green” production of high-grade steel without coal and these pioneers will prosper and expand while “dirty” old producers will wither and die.
The TUC is calling on the government to fund an £85bn green recovery package to create 1.24 million green jobs.
Job protection schemes exist in Germany, Japan and many US states, producing significant savings on redundancies, training and hiring costs, and enabling firms to keep skilled staff on their books.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The world is moving very clearly in one direction – away from carbon and toward net zero. The UK must keep up with the pace of change. There’s still time to protect vital jobs in manufacturing and its supply chains. But the clock is ticking. Unless the government urgently scales up investment in green tech and industry, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of jobs to competitor nations. If we move quickly, we can still safeguard Britain’s industrial heartlands.”