Government has fallen well short of expectations for its green growth roadmap, with today’s report lacking an economic and employment strategy that would help put the UK on the path to a sustainable recovery. The government is right to identify the shift towards a green economy as an opportunity to boost growth. But the underlying trend of UK carbon emissions means that deep emissions cuts are still required to meet carbon budgets.
Ministers have provided few clues on how to encourage ‘green’ skills or secure our manufacturing base. Our energy intensive industries like steel, aluminium, ceramics and chemicals are still looking for answers.
Prospect criticised the Government’s report ‘Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy’ as a wholly inadequate substitute for the government’s promised vision for moving the UK to cleaner technologies and taking advantage of new environmental markets. “Although full of good intentions, the report says very little about how the aspirations will be delivered and falls far short of the active industrial strategy the UK urgently needs to deliver green growth.
“There is no analysis of employment implications and just one short paragraph on skills that does not even mention the crucial importance of STEM skills, where there are already shortages. A further statement, tucked away on Business Link web pages, that STEM skills will be ‘a priority for the green economy at least as much as for the economy as a whole’ singularly fails to provide reassurance.”
While acknowledging the report recognises that ‘effective and proportionate’ environmental regulation has a role to play, Sue Ferns, head of research at Prospect, said there was a clear preference to ‘explore voluntary agreements and other less burdensome alternatives’, adding “We know this will not work.”
The report concludes that ‘businesses and government must work together to fully realise the opportunities and drive green growth’.
“The reality is that they cannot succeed without engaging with the workforce. Unions have a key role to play in ensuring just transition to a green economy.”
No doubt these issues will be aired at the next meeting of the Green Economy Council on 13 October.