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More than 1 million jobs could be created in Britain in the next two years if the government invests now in key infrastructure, according to a new TUC report published today (Wednesday).
  • New research shows that fast tracking spending on projects such as broadband, green technology, transport and housing could deliver 1.24 million jobs boost by 2022 

  • TUC calls for new economic consensus on building out of recession 

  • Urgent support needed to protect jobs and prevent “devastating impact” of mass unemployment, warns union body 

More than 1 million jobs could be created in Britain in the next two years if the government invests now in key infrastructure, according to a new TUC report published today (Wednesday). 

Research – carried out for the TUC by Transition Economics – reveals that fast tracking spending on projects such as broadband, green technology, transport and housing could deliver a 1.24 million jobs boost by 2022.  

The analysis shows that projects which could create jobs include: 

  • Investment in high-speed broadband: this could help create over 40,000 new jobs  

  • Research and development in de-carbonising technology in manufacturing: this could help create over 38,000 new jobs  

  • Expanding and upgrading the rail network: this could help deliver over 120,000 new jobs  

  • Investing in the electrification of transport, including electric buses, new electric ferries, battery factories, and electric charging points: this could help deliver 59,000 jobs  

  • Building new social housing and retrofitting existing social housing: this could create 500,000 jobs. 

The report says investing now in key projects (which it estimates will cost the Treasury £85bn) will pay for itself by creating jobs across the economy and boosting growth and tax receipts. 

It calls for a new economic consensus on building out of recession and doing everything possible to avoid the damage of mass unemployment.  

Urgent support for at-risk industries and workers 

With less than a month until the government’s emergency budget, the TUC warns “we can lose no time” in coming up with a rescue plan to protect jobs and businesses. 

The union body says that as well as boosting infrastructure spending, ministers must provide urgent and tailored support packages for the sectors of the economy worse hit by the crisis. And warns that without this support we risk a wave of redundancies as the Job Retention Scheme is wound down.  

The report says the government should follow the example of other countries and where necessary take equity stakes of up to 30% in struggling companies. 

The union body said that these partial buyouts should come with guarantees from companies that they will: 

  •  Introduce fair pay plans 

  •  Rein in executive pay 

  •  Improve their corporate governance structures 

  •  Pay their fair share of tax. 

The TUC said that by taking equity stakes in medium and large businesses that remain viable in the medium-term but cannot operate profitably in the current circumstances, the government could prevent many businesses from needlessly going under and save many jobs. 

Young workers 

The report says that proving urgent support for at-risk industries is critical to preventing a huge spike in youth unemployment. 

Those aged 25 and under are three times more likely to work in the sectors where jobs are at greatest risk – accommodation and food, and arts, entertainment and recreation.  

The report calls on government to: 

  • Establish a national recovery council with unions and employers 

  • Set up sectoral working groups with unions and business groups to draw up road maps for specific industries 

  • Introduce a fully funded jobs guarantee programme that offers paid jobs with training, with a focus on young people  

  • Boost social security support for those who lose their jobs 

  • Ensure that the crisis does not exacerbate labour market inequalities, with a new drive to promote equality across all measures to rebuild the economy 

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:  

“We need to work our way out of recession. Investing in infrastructure now will help to create jobs across the economy and limit the fallout from coronavirus. And it will stop the devastation of mass unemployment.  

“We should lose no time getting shovels in the ground. Next month’s budget must be used to green-light spending on homes, faster broadband, better transport links and greener technology. 

“Alongside investment in infrastructure to create great new jobs, we need a job guarantee scheme for young workers and rescue packages for badly hit sectors. And we need a new drive to ensure that the recession does not worsen existing labour market inequalities. 

“The more people we can keep in work, the faster we’ll bounce back from this crisis.” 

Editors note

-Copies of the report are available from the TUC press office 

-Broken down by sector, projected job creation (direct and supply chain) from investing in infrastructure is as follows:  

  • 735,000 jobs in housing construction and energy efficiency retrofits  

  • 289,000 jobs in transport upgrades  

  • 98,000 jobs in energy, waste, and manufacturing infrastructure upgrades  

  • 81,000 jobs in land, forestry, and agriculture improvements  

  • 42,000 jobs in broadband upgrades 

- 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. 



Alex Rossiter    
020 7467 1285  
07725 488893 

TUC press office   
020 7467 1248  

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