EDITOR’S COMMENT: during a time of increasing unemployment and looming redundancies, creating new jobs is a priority for the government. However, we can’t expect already over-burdened taxpayers to subside new green jobs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking advice from industry on how to create green jobs in the U.K. as unemployment rose at the quickest pace in a decade. The government is gathering a green jobs taskforce that seeks to create employment for 2 million by 2030. Johnson is planning a major speech on how he will spur an industrial revolution in clean-energy technologies, part of a series of initiative leading up to global talks on climate change the U.K. will host next year.
The move also is aimed at helping the U.K. economy recover from the battering delivered by coronavirus lockdowns, with the number of workers being made redundant hitting a record. With the government weighing a ban on diesel cars by 2035, it’s seeking to spur new technologies like electric vehicles and offshore wind power that can absorb workers from industries that are being wound down.
“Businesses desperately need a framework to plan and there’s been a lack of certainty about the future direction of travel,” said Kate Bell, head of rights, international, social and economic at the Trades Union Congress. “There is a need to get moving quickly.” The government has once again delayed a much anticipated energy policy paper that will set a direction for how the U.K. will meet its target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
It will be key for investors who want to create jobs in technologies such as nuclear, hydrogen and carbon capture that are key to reducing pollution but too expensive to work without subsidy. Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng on Thursday said it will be published by December. The urgency to create more jobs is building. Despite unprecedented government support to help pay workers wages, U.K. unemployment rose the most since the financial crisis over the summer, taking the jobless rate to 4.8%.
Job cuts, known as redundancies in the U.K., increased by a record 181,000 in the third quarter and look set to peak when the furlough program is withdrawn at the end of March. With the pandemic reshaping the jobs landscape, these lay offs risk becoming entrenched unemployment if workers aren’t able to find or fit the skill requirements of newly created roles.