Ministers urged to deliver green local jobs which are popular with Tory voters

The UK must set out a long-term industrial strategy committed to delivering good quality local jobs, a think tank has urged.

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned that while communities in the EU and USA are benefiting from the switch to renewable energy, the UK is being left behind.

It argued that the Government needs to capitalise on the transition to net zero, seen abroad by Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the US, rather than moving backwards on its climate pledges.

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Researchers noted that the IRA is estimated to create 9 million new green jobs in the next decade, with the US government guaranteeing financial incentives until at least 2032, with some lasting into the 2040s.

Rishi Sunak faces calls from think tanks and his MPs to embrace green energy despite this month's delays to net zero policies.Rishi Sunak faces calls from think tanks and his MPs to embrace green energy despite this month's delays to net zero policies.
Rishi Sunak faces calls from think tanks and his MPs to embrace green energy despite this month's delays to net zero policies.

In contrast, the UK has the lowest levels of investment in the G7 and has committed less than 1.2 per cent of GDP to addressing climate change, with recent announcements by Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, indicating that he does not want to push for the levels of investment and reform seen abroad.

Joshua Emden, senior research fellow at IPPR, said: “The UK government needs to start investing now in jobs of the future, and offering incentives to businesses to make them good jobs, that pay well and provide social benefits, or else workers, the economy and the environment will suffer.”

It comes as new polling from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, the week of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, found that 61 per cent of people think government has “done nothing” to level up the north, including 56 per cent of 2019 Tories,

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The research, conducted among voters living in Conservative-held seats in the North West and Yorkshire, also found that 53 per cent believe Rishi Sunak is “not at all” committed to levelling up.

Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “No one wants to be remembered as the Prime Minister who pulled the plug on over a decade of cross-party consensus, not to mention huge amounts of private investment from the UK and overseas.”

Separate polling suggested that investment in green energy, such as the policies championed by the UK’s allies and competitors abroad, is popular among Conservative voters, despite the decision by the Prime Minister to row back on some of his net zero pledges.

Research by the Onward think tank found that 49 per cent of Conservative 2019 voters back net zero, with only a fifth opposed, and rank it as the fifth biggest issue facing the UK.

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Voters also do not blame green policies for the cost of living crisis, with more people blaming Liz Truss’ premiership than net zero for high taxes (32 per cent).

Simon Clarke MP, former Levelling Up Secretary, commented: "The public overwhelmingly supports net zero, and we Conservatives must lead efforts to tackle climate change.

“As Onward's research shows, voters want to see Government action to build renewables, help people insulate homes and make electric vehicles more affordable.

“Delivering on these popular policies would show that our party is committed to tackling climate change, securing new clean industries, and protecting our planet for future generations."