TUC says UK’s potential to be a world leader will not be achieved by slashing support for renewable energy

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

The government must stop cutting renewable energy funding and get behind the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, a new report has said today.renewable-energy-archives-environmental-commissioner-of-1127x751

The report, jointly written by the TUC and Greenpeace, says that there is much common ground between trade unions and environmental organisations, who want to see active support from government so the UK can become a world centre UK can be a world centre for low-carbon manufacturing, including steel.

Green Collar Nation says that the UK should follow the example of countries like Germany, which invested in renewable energy and created 380,000 jobs.

By contrast, UK government cuts to renewable energy have put 27,000 jobs at risk, with over 1,000 redundancies declared by solar power firms this week alone.

The report includes the following policy recommendations:

  • Develop clean technology apprenticeships;
  • Provide support for businesses and households to become more energy efficient;
  • Draw up plans for a just transition to a low carbon future, involving businesses, unions and communities.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The UK has the potential to be a world leader in low-carbon manufacturing. But this won’t be achieved by slashing support for renewable energy.

“Ministers should be learning from the likes of Germany, and getting behind the green economy. This is the way to create the high-quality jobs and apprenticeships we need to boost productivity. David Cameron’s ‘greenest government ever’ remains a distant fantasy.”

Greenpeace policy director Dr. Doug Parr said: “The government cannot pretend cuts to subsidies for the nascent solar industry are necessary to save families money whilst throwing much more money at well-established technologies. The timing couldn’t be worse as the young and potentially booming solar industry is on track to go subsidy free but if these cuts happen, it will be too sudden, too soon and too dramatic and is likely to irrevocably damage the domestic solar industry losing thousands of jobs and millions in investment.

“There are dynamic, fast-growing industries in the green economy which could have global reach that are being stifled by lack of support. The Treasury needs to get out of its 20th century mind set and recognise that other industries like unabated coal are part of the past, and ensure that those workers who need to make the transition to new industry are given the support and retraining they need.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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