Unions call on Government to back a low carbon economy

The Government must stop cutting renewable energy funding and back the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, according to a new report by the TUC and Greenpeace.

The Green Collar Nation report, which is published today, says that the UK should follow the example of countries like Germany, which invested in renewable energy and created 380,000 jobs.

The report warns UK government cuts to renewable energy have put 27,000 jobs at risk, with over 1,000 redundancies declared by solar power firms this week alone.

Instead, it calls on the Government to develop clean technology apprenticeships and support businesses and households that want to become more energy efficient.

“The UK has the potential to be a world leader in low-carbon manufacturing. But this won’t be achieved by slashing support for renewable energy,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Ministers should be learning from the likes of Germany, and getting behind the green economy. This is the way to create the high-quality jobs and apprenticeships we need to boost productivity.”

“David Cameron’s ‘greenest government ever’ remains a distant fantasy.”

Dr. Doug Parr, Greenpeace Policy Director added: "The Government cannot pretend cuts to subsidies for the nascent solar industry are necessary to save families money whilst throwing much more money at well-established technologies. The timing couldn't be worse as the young and potentially booming solar industry is on track to go subsidy free but if these cuts happen, it will be too sudden, too soon and too dramatic and is likely to irrevocably damage the domestic solar industry losing thousands of jobs and millions in investment.

“There are dynamic, fast-growing industries in the green economy which could have global reach that are being stifled by lack of support. The Treasury needs to get out of its 20th century mind set and recognise that other industries like unabated coal are part of the past, and ensure that those workers who need to make the transition to new industry are given the support and retraining they need."

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues