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TUC plan would mean more than 46,000 new green jobs for the West Midlands over next 2 years

  • TUC report sets out opportunities for a net zero carbon economy in the West Midlands

A new TUC report published today (Friday) sets out the potential for regional strategy with direct input from workers to create new high-quality jobs on the path to net zero carbon emissions.

Figures commissioned by the TUC from Transition Economics show how many jobs would be created in the next two years in English regions and Wales as part of a national programme to fast-track investment in green infrastructure.

46,576 jobs would be directly created in the next two years in the West Midlands, with thousands more new jobs in supply chains likely to be supported in the region too.

The direct jobs include:

  • 13,249 jobs building new social housing
  • 12,141 jobs retrofitting social housing to higher environmental standards
  • 14,122 jobs creating sustainable transport networks, with expanded rail, electric car charging points and more cycle lanes and pedestrian routes
  • 1,013 jobs in reforestation

The report ’Voice and place: how to plan fair and successful paths to net zero emissions’ is based on research in five UK nations and regions that draws on the expertise of local union reps on the challenges and opportunities in their area.

The results are presented as a series of case studies for Northern England, North West England, the Midlands, Wales, and Yorkshire and Humberside, with recommendations for regional and national policy.

While each case study reveals specific opportunities and challenges, the findings collectively demonstrate the importance of:

Place-based strategy: Plans must be tailored for the industry, culture and geography of each region. In the West Midlands there are prime opportunities to:

  • Build on HS2 to further increase the rail and tram connectivity in the region  
  • Improve the travel network with charging points for electric vehicles and plans for pedestrian and cycling schemes
  • Secure the UK’s first Gigafactory in the region
  • Build high-quality social housing with low carbon technologies; and retrofit social housing and public buildings
  • Use the regions world class manufacturing base and links with universities to develop a cluster of cutting edge green industry

Workers’ voice: Workers had no say in the transition from traditional industry to an economy based on services in the 1980s. That mis-handled transition led to long-term unemployment and poor-quality jobs, and to the massive erosion of the UK’s manufacturing base. That mistake must not be made again. Companies should make Transition Agreements with unions covering job security, re-training, re-deployment and the protection of decent term and conditions.

Regional recovery and transition panels: The UK needs a social partnership approach to reach the net zero goal and to recover from the pandemic. A West Midlands wide ‘recovery and transition panel’ should be established in tandem with a ‘UK national council for recovery and transition’. It should include local government, unions, employers, Job Centre Plus, experts on green industry and the environment and civic partners, working together on plans to reach net zero, that can win strong public support.

Lee Barron, TUC regional secretary for the Midlands said:

The West Midlands has huge economic strengths. Our central location, our fantastic universities and our leading role in advanced manufacturing puts us in a strong position to secure growth and good jobs.

“Indeed, the West Midlands has been synonymous with manufacturing in general, and the motor industry in particular. It is very much in the DNA of the region. But a just transition must ensure that the skills and future of the automotive sector is secured for future generations.

“We must learn the lessons of the past. The 2005 closure of the Rover plant devastated Northfield. The community lost secure, well-paid jobs and Northfield ended up having more workers paid below the Living Wage than anywhere else in the UK. We can’t make the same mistakes again.

“It is a scandal that there are more electric car charging points in Westminster than in the whole of the West Midlands Combined Authority geography. That just shows how far we have to go. But we’re up for the challenge.

“We want to work with the WMCA and other West Midlands partners, using local knowledge and expertise to meet our region’s needs and builds on our strengths.  

“A key part of that local expertise is in our workforce. Union reps in the West Midlands have a deep understanding of the opportunities in our area and smart ideas about the way ahead. And they are keen to work in partnership with industry, local government and the local community to build stronger businesses that offer decent green jobs.

“The last time there was big industrial upheaval in the 1980s, workers were just dumped on the dole and many communities were trashed and abandoned. That can’t happen again. It’s why unions keep talking about a ‘just transition’ to net zero that meets the needs of workers and local communities.

“If workers have a genuine say, plans can be agreed with government and business that provide job security and protect job quality. That’s going to win community backing too, so progress will be both fairer and faster. And we’ll all become proud when our generation delivers a major upgrade to the West Midlands, and to Britain, an industrial transformation that improves everyone’s quality of life.”

Editors note

- The full TUC report is here:

- New regional data on green job creation: Analysis for the TUC by Transition Economics found that a total of just over a million jobs could be created in England and Wales across the next two years by speeding up investment in green infrastructure.  

439,000 of these jobs would be created directly in the infrastructure projects. And we estimate that a further 612,000 will be created in supply chains providing the materials, goods and services required for the projects.

Transition economics provided a breakdown of the 439,000 directly created jobs to show how many of them would be in each UK nation and region, along with a breakdown of the industries that they would be in. The breakdown for direct job creation in the West Midlands is below.

Direct job creation in the West Midlands from national programme to fast-track £85bn investment in green infrastructure


Jobs created

Expand and upgrade rail network


Electric car charging points (rural)


Cycle lanes & pedestrianisation


New social housing


Retrofit social housing


Energy efficiency assessments


Retrofit public buildings


Reforestation schemes




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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