The TUC has today warned that the withdrawal of hundreds of millions of pounds from the Green Homes Grant scheme will take “a wrecking ball” to green jobs in the East Midlands.
The warning comes as the TUC releases new analysis which reveals the pulled funding from the Green Homes Grant is likely going to cost around 9,600 jobs in the region.
The government promised to deliver 100,000 new jobs through the scheme across England. However, the TUC estimates the scheme’s peak job creation has been just 14,500 jobs, and that the funding cut will see 8,500 jobs lost going into 2021-2022, with only 6,000 remaining.
The TUC says of the promised 100,000 new jobs, 10,200 should have been created in the East Midlands, but estimates that a maximum of 1,540 have been created there to date. The union body adds that 940 will be lost next year due the pulled funding.
The TUC says the East Midlands is in need of good green jobs and is home to politically contested ‘red-wall’ constituencies, which have been identified by the government as areas to ‘level up’.
Government jobs target in “tatters”
The TUC says the withdrawal of funding from the Green Homes Grant scheme leaves the government’s target of 100,000 new jobs in “tatters.”
The Green Homes Grant, which provides funding for retrofitting homes to make them more environmentally-friendly, was announced by the chancellor in his ‘Plan for Jobs’ speech in July 2020.
This was the government’s flagship policy to "build back better" and create green jobs in the face of rising unemployment. The grants were since promoted by the prime minister as a key plank in his Ten Point Plan for a green recovery.
Recently however, the government has quietly cut more than £1bn of funding from its flagship green initiative.
Huge green funding gap
The union body has also warned that last Wednesday’s Budget did nothing to fill the huge funding gap left by the Green Homes Grant cut.
The TUC says there was just £99 million in new direct green funding allocated to England in the Budget, which is just 7.4% of the £1.35 billion that the government cut from the Green Homes Grant.
The TUC says the Budget was a missed opportunity to reverse the Green Homes Grant decision, fully fund the scheme and invest in a powerful green stimulus to create millions more decent jobs in the Budget.
The TUC has set out plans to create 1.24 million good green jobs within the next two years, including 38,260 jobs in the East Midlands. These jobs included retrofitting homes to make them more energy-efficient, as well as installing faster broadband, developing modern transport links and bringing forward new green technology.
In its retrofitting proposal, the TUC said 212,000 new jobs could be created and earmarked local authorities for delivery.
The Green Homes Grant has two components for delivery: a private voucher-based outsourced part and a local authority part. The private outsourced component has the lion’s share of responsibility for delivery.
The union body says instead of cutting Green Homes Grant funding, money should be redirected towards the existing local authority delivery process for private and social housing.
TUC Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:
“This funding cut will take a wrecking ball to green jobs in the East Midlands.
“The Green Homes Grant was supposed to create jobs, not cost them. By pulling the funding, the government has shown it isn’t serious about levelling up.
“The Budget was a missed opportunity to put things right. We need to see a proper green jobs drive to help power our recovery and stop mass unemployment.”
-Methodology available on request
- Unite have called for a large Housing Retrofit programme, as part of their "Magnificent Seven" shovel ready projects.
- The Budget allocated £99 million towards investments in railways and stations: £59 million towards the construction of five new stations in the West Midlands and will unlock £40 million of funding to reinstate passenger services on the Okehampton-Exeter line. This appears to be the only new direct government spending on the climate transition in England. The Budget also made reference to £69 million for green projects in Wales and Scotland, and announced £82 million in UK-wide green competitions from the existing Net Zero Innovation Portfolio launched in 2020.
- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the Midlands exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 1 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
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