Cross-party MPs deride government’s ‘inconsistent’ green jobs policy

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<span>Photograph: Alamy</span>
Photograph: Alamy

The government has come under fire from the environmental audit committee of MPs for its “inconsistent” policy on green jobs. The committee said that despite pledging millions of pounds to green jobs initiatives, ministers are yet to define what a “green job” is.

“The workforce of the future is being undermined by a lack of evidence-based government policies on how jobs will be filled in green sectors,” said Philip Dunne, the committee chairman. “Encouraging announcements of investment in green sectors of the economy are very welcome but the government admits that claims about green jobs lack explanation and data on how the targets will be achieved.”

The UK’s net zero strategy, which claims to support up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, should have been used to define and measure what green jobs are, the committee said, and called for a detailed action delivery plan.

The cross-party body said the government’s lack of understanding showed up in the green homes grant voucher scheme, where it failed to engage with the sector to develop the skills needed, leading to contractors making staff redundant as consumers awaited confirmation of vouchers.

“Our report today sets out how these green jobs roles can be filled,” Dunne said. “Monitoring the sectors and regions where the jobs are needed, and rebooting careers advice that demystifies green jobs, is critical if we are to meet our environmental goals.”

The Local Government Association called on the government to work with councils and businesses on a “national fiscal and policy framework to address the climate emergency”.

Related: UK spending far more on polluting policies than green ones, says WWF

“Green skills need to be front and centre of our recovery from the pandemic, helping to level up our communities, build local government capacity and increase social mobility,” Kevin Bentley, the chairman of the LGA’s people and places board, said. “Our analysis has shown that there could be as many as 700,000 local green jobs by 2030 rising to 1.1m by 2050, arising from the low-carbon and renewable energy economy.

“Councils know where and in what sectors these jobs will be. It now needs the levers to work with partners to build a skilled and experienced workforce which is crucial to the government meeting its net zero targets and ‘levelling up’ ambitions.

“Local government has a key role to play here, matching skills supply with industry demand over time, and ensuring all residents and wider local economies can benefit from new employment opportunities.

“With the right powers and funding in the spending review, we can join up business, providers and communities to build effective pathways and progression routes for young people and adults, making more effective use of government programmes such as bootcamps and sector-based work academies.”

Chris Sanger, EY’s head of tax policy, said the chancellor should use the budget this week as an opportunity to “boost the UK’s green economy and put a stake in the ground ahead of Cop26 which is only days away”.

“To elevate Britain’s green credentials, the chancellor could use his speech to expand on the government’s 10-point plan and net zero strategy, to help position the UK as a global leader and an attractive destination for investment.”

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