WATCH: “We get bang for our buck if we invest in green,” says Miliband

Elliot Chappell

Ed Miliband has argued that “we get bang for our buck if we invest in green” while urging the government to seize the opportunity to both provide jobs for the UK and help the country combat the climate emergency.

Discussing the launch of Labour’s new green economic recovery report in a Sky News interview this morning, the Shadow Business and Energy Secretary stressed that previous evidence shows green industries are “jobs rich”.

He told viewers: “We’ve got a jobs crisis. We know we’ve lost about a million jobs in the economic crisis caused by coronavirus. We know we’ve got masses to do in getting our economy ready for the green transition that we need to make.

“And that’s everything from industry, we want our aerospace manufacturers making the low-carbon engines of the future, to the electric vehicle charging points we need, to the nature-based solutions, the tree planting to retrofitting homes.

“We’re saying to government, you’re planning to spend around £100bn on infrastructure in this parliament – bring forward at least £30bn of that over the next 18 months to provide a stimulus to the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Miliband and Anneliese Dodds have challenged the government to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support the creation of 400,000 new jobs as part of a green economic recovery from the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Commenting on specific industries this morning, Miliband said: “They’re [aerospace manufacturers] saying to me, government said we’ll spend about £150m on getting the low-carbon engines of the future ready.

“If they double that amount, £300m, it could make a massive difference to us. It could protect jobs, and we’re ready to go on that. We’re ready to develop that technology.

“Or something as simple as tree planting – we know that is a nature-based solution to the climate challenge, we know it can be done quickly. Or retrofitting homes, putting the insulation that will cut bills and also protect the planet…

“We get bang for our buck if we invest in green. The evidence of the last financial crisis is that when there was investment in green industry, its jobs rich.”

He added: “Its value for money – we’ve got to spend this money anyway – and it makes for a better country at the end of it.”

Labour’s stimulus package would aim to recover jobs, retrain workers via a training programme to equip those affected by Covid unemployment, and rebuild business with the creation of a national investment bank.

Developed following a consultation on a green new deal launched by the Shadow Business and Energy Secretary in June this year, the proposals being put forward by the Labour Party include:

  • upgrading ports and shipyards for offshore wind supply chains;
  • expanding investment in carbon capture tech;
  • accelerating investment in electric vehicle charging;
  • placing new orders for electric buses to help struggling manufacturers;
  • creating a new National Nature Service; energy efficiency and retrofit programmes, including in social housing;
  • negotiating new sectoral deals to protect jobs and promote the shift to net zero;
  • and expanding flood protection investment.

The consultation on the creation of an ambitious, just recovery was led by Miliband and Dodds, and ran through the party’s national policy forum as part of an open policy-making process. It received almost 2,000 responses.

Labour for a Green New Deal, the group which successfully campaigned for the party to adopt a 2030 net-zero target, has said that 1,400 of the submissions – 70% – endorsed its proposals for a socialist Green New Deal.

The Prime Minister is considering delivering a major speech on climate change in the coming weeks, Politico has reported. There has been no sign so far of a ten-point plan promised by Boris Johnson to “build back greener”.

Labour sources have suggested to LabourList that Chancellor Rishi Sunak could be behind the delay in the release of the low-carbon industrial revolution plan that was first trailed in Johnson’s Tory conference speech.

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