Unions have criticized the British government’s plans for a “green industrial revolution” as being seriously lacking in ambition in scale and urgency.
Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, criticized the magnitude of the plans for the whole of the UK as he testified to the Scottish Affairs Committee this week. He described the government’s climate plan as “10 times too unambitious”.
The plan, published in November 2020, includes 10 points to support a “green industrial revolution” in the UK. It aims to expand sectors such as hydrogen, offshore wind, EVs and carbon capture and storage technology by mobilizing £12bn in funding.
However, the Labor Party noted at the time that only £4bn of the proposed money was actually new and the “remote” funding is not up to the scale of what is needed to tackle climate change and unemployment.
“I’m just going to keep it there; it’s 10 times underambitious,” Moxham said. “We’ve put forward research from Transition Economics suggesting that such a level of investment would only work for Scotland.
We make no apologies for that level of ambition. We would like to see it 10 times more ambitious.”
Asked about the ‘Build Back Better’ scheme to support economic growth after the pandemic, Moxham reiterated his argument that the plan is an order of magnitude underambitious:
sounds right in terms of what the effect of that investment is […] they use Keynesian arguments, but they don’t do the logic of it, which is, spend 10 times as much, and I really mean 10 times as much.” Unite the Union’s national officer Bob MacGregor said all related contracts should create jobs in the U.K.
“We are looking for infrastructure investment and not importing it: make it here, build it here, use it here,” he said. he according to a PA News report. “The opportunities are huge if the investment is made in the sustainable sector.
If public money is being spent there must be conditions for most of it to be built in the UK. “These companies get these contracts , making them spin halfway around the world and they float around on these big ships, damaging the planet, when we should have the supply chain in the UK.
Ultimately, it’s the public who buys the electricity that pays for these projects. It’s the future electricity costs that will drive these projects in.
“The public is paying for it, the public should benefit from it with jobs, good quality jobs quality in the UK, on the coasts of Scotland, as we will spend the rest of our lives staring at these wind projects from our shores.
Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that the UK faces the triple threat of Covid, climate change and mounting debt. It warned that delayed climate action could lead to an additional three percent effect on GDP.
In the baseline scenario of early decarbonisation, the impact on the UK’s “debt mountain” would be less severe than the pandemic, with a 21 percent (£469 billion) increase in GDP to net debt in 2050-51;
under the worst possible circumstances (no decarbonisation action), UK debt would reach 289 percent of GDP by the end of 2100.