Anneliese Dodds has called for a “broader perspective on our environment and what needs to be valued” and said that creating green employment is “not just about high-technology jobs in renewable energy”.
The Shadow Chancellor discussed supporting young people into employment at a Groundwork UK panel event today as part of Labour’s online conference, appearing alongside MP and West Midlands mayoral candidate Liam Byrne.
Commenting on jobs the UK should be prioritising, Dodds said: “Let’s have a broad view of green jobs because if you look at the care sector – and the Women’s Budget Group have done really good work on this… They are fundamentally green jobs.
“They are labour intensive jobs. They are the ones that we will need for the future. So it’s not just about high-technology jobs in renewable energy. Let’s have a broader perspective on our environment and what needs to be valued.”
She told participants at the virtual talk this afternoon that we should no longer be in a situation where the UK government is allocating money to “polluting technologies” and high-carbon producing economic activities.
The Shadow Chancellor added: “We’ve got to have every pound of investment spent coming from government linked to employment and to environmental goals.”
Dodds and Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband launched a consultation on the creation of an ambitious green and just economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, which is due to report later this year.
A Labour for a Green New Deal spokesperson commented: “Anneliese Dodds is right, green jobs are about more than renewable energy. That’s why organisations from the TUC to IPPR have made the case for the creation of more than a million green jobs post-pandemic, from social care to broadband to home insulation.
“Labour members overwhelmingly supported our proposals in submissions to Labour’s green recovery consultation – now is the time for Labour to match this rhetoric with policies, and fight for a Green New Deal.”
The Shadow Chancellor also emphasised during the event that there needs to be “local ownership” of employment programmes in the economic recovery, or warned that they would not be “fitted to local circumstances”.
She described this as a “big challenge” as it is “not the mindset of central government at all”, and criticised the government for “going backwards” in terms of enabling local actors to create employment opportunities.
Dodds described the government ‘Kickstart’ scheme, designed to create jobs for those aged 16-24, as a “good start” but has warned that the programme “on its own will not deal with all the challenges facing young people”.
Employers earlier this month declared that they need more help to prevent a “lost generation” of young people created by the Covid-19 recession after details of the the £2bn programme were published.
The event today made up part of Labour’s virtual ‘Connected’ conference, which the Shadow Chancellor will address on Monday with a public speech scheduled for 11am.
The usual annual conference was cancelled earlier this year due to Covid and the party unveiled the online replacement that will run a programme of events through to September 22nd.