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• Tens of thousands of new green jobs could be created in next two years in Yorkshire by speeding up infrastructure investment
• TUC’s report sets out proposals for a net zero carbon economy for our region

A new TUC report published today (Friday) sets out the potential for a regional strategy in Yorkshire and the Humber with direct input from workers to reach 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 Yorkshire & the Humber as part of a national programme to fast-track investment in green infrastructure.

58,000 new jobs would be directly created in the next two years in Yorkshire & the Humber, with thousands more new jobs in supply chains likely to be supported in the region too.

The direct jobs include:

  • 20,906 jobs building new social housing
  • 11,189 jobs retrofitting social housing to higher environmental standards
  • 9,410 to expand and upgrade our rail network
  • 5,321 jobs creating new cycle and pedestrian networks
  • 4,402 in reforestation schemes

These figures are based on fast-tracking £85 billion worth of shovel ready green investment schemes. Many tens of thousands more jobs could be created if national government, local councils, and mayors procure and commission these projects in local communities, supporting local jobs and businesses.

The figures do not account for the new funding announced under the West Yorkshire devolution deal, which includes funding for a new mass transit network for West Yorkshire, and which the TUC is calling on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to fast track as a matter of urgency.

‘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 Nothern England, North West England, the Midlands, Wales, and Yorkshire and Humberside, with recommendations for regional and national policy.

The analysis in the report reveals lessons for fair and successful transition to net zero that apply to Yorkshire & the Humber.

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

  • Transform the Humber Estuary into a green energy hub, and pioneer CCS technology to reduce pollution from Europe’s largest power station
  • Accelerate the upgrade of our rail network, for passengers and freight
  • Break ground on a new mass transit system for West Yorkshire, procuring light rail construction locally and supporting thousands of jobs
  • Building new social housing and using mayoral powers to ensure these are sustainable communities, with reliable public transport links, active travel areas, and local economic opportunities

Workers voice: Workers had no say in the transition from traditional industry to services in the 1980s. It led to long-term unemployment and poor-quality jobs. 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 reaching net zero and recovering from the pandemic. A Yorkshire wide Just Transition Commission should be established in tandem with a UK national council for recovery and transition. It would include local government, unions, employers, Job Centre Plus and civic partners, working together on plans to reach net zero that can achieve strong public support.

Immediate action should be taken by the South Yorkshire Mayor, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and local authority leaders, to empanel local Just Transition Task Forces, bringing together businesses, unions, academic expertise and finance opportunities, to support workers and businesses facing redundancy to transition their business models for new green jobs. The regional TUC stands ready to facilitate this work.

TUC regional secretary Bill Adams said:

“National action is vital, but Yorkshire needs to cut its own path to net zero too. From Halifax to the Humber, our region has its own character, with its own industry, culture and geography. We must use local knowledge and expertise to make plans that play to our strengths and address our needs.

“A key part of that local expertise is in our workforce. Union reps in our region have a really good understanding of the opportunities in their area. And they are keen to work in partnership with industry, local government and the local community.

“This report is a call to local leaders, be they mayors, council leaders, or combined authorities, to kickstart a green recovery with shovel ready projects we’ve identified. Declaring a climate emergency needs to mean more than a town hall motion.  

“We need to see action now on investment in light rail for West Yorkshire’s mass transit system, and expansion of Sheffield’s Supertram, local procurement of buses from the two major low carbon bus manufacturers in our region, and investment in the Humber Green Estuary.

“Yorkshire workers must not lose out on opportunities in the new green economy. We have shovel ready schemes in public transport, housing, and green energy transition that will upskill our workforce and stimulate a green economic boom for our region.

“The last time there was big industrial upheaval in the 1980s, workers were just dumped on the dole. 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 Britain 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 Yorkshire & the Humber is below:

Direct job creation in Yorkshire and Humberside 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





- About the TUC: 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) 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.


Gareth Forest (Lewis)
0113 200 1075
07810 374976 

TUC national press office  
020 7467 1248 

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