Transition to ‘green’ economy endangers jobs in parts of UK, report warns

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Regions in the UK hardest hit by job losses from decarbonization of industry will not benefit from increased funding and risk losing more jobs, according to a new study.

A study of the most polluting industries warned that a shift to a “green” economy risked jobs, even with leveling funds.

The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) said areas such as Aberdeen, Port Talbot and Stratford-upon-Avon could be affected if jobs in steelmaking and auto production decline and the use of fossil fuels was declining.

His report calls for a Just Transition Fund to support areas affected by declining “polluting jobs”, warning that up to half of the places that will be hardest hit by job losses from decarbonization will not are not among the government’s priority areas for leveling up funding.

Ministers are urged to do more to support areas that risk being left behind in the shift from industries such as fossil fuel production to greener industries.

RSA said half of the 20 most fossil-fuel-dependent regions in the UK have not been tagged as a priority for the government’s goal to shift into high gear.

Fabian Wallace-Stephens, Senior Researcher at RSA, said: “Decarbonization is essential and can lead to a better future for workers and communities, but only if the state plays an active role in shaping labor markets. local through investments, vocational training and better social assistance.

“But right now, many of the areas where the impacts will be felt the hardest are not in the priority categories for leveling funding.

“We need to make sure that the decarbonization policy and the upgrade policy go hand in hand to ensure a better future for the communities most affected. “

GMB General Secretary Gary Smith said: “The government must establish a Renewable Energy Development Authority to develop the skills and facilities of a UK supply chain for the massive investment required for the net zero. This can help mitigate job losses identified elsewhere.

He added that thousands of giant offshore wind turbines are needed to meet climate change targets, which will require 30,000 steelmaking jobs each year and 20 million tonnes of steel.

Unite Deputy General Secretary Steve Turner said: “The necessary transition to a new green economy must put workers and communities at the heart of its concerns.

“Workers will only be won over if they are convinced that no workplace or community will be left behind on our journey.

“We need and deserve so much more than sound bites and rhetoric, we won’t buy a pig all at once.

“The government has no plan or industrial strategy to reassure British workers or this union that a ‘green’ transition will be fair or just.”

A government spokesperson said: “We do not accept this analysis. We are making progress in all parts of the UK, increasing opportunities, empowering local leaders, improving public services and regenerating our city centers and main streets.

“As we move to a green economy and deliver net zero, new jobs are being created – 56,000 this year alone – and we are building on that with a £ 200million boost to communities in offering vocational training to the unemployed and investing in companies to develop low carbon technology.

“The upcoming Leveling Up white paper will explain how we will further improve opportunities and strengthen livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic. “


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