The Chancellor announces a green economic “kick start”

The Chancellor announces a green economic “kick start”

Article· By the Timber Trade Federation · 9 July 

Amidst fears of a growing unemployment crisis and a fast-contracting economy, the Chancellor yesterday took what proponents claim is effective action to kickstart the economy and show the world that the UK is committed to combatting climate change.

Over the last several weeks a number of reports and studies have come out stating that the UK is not on track to become net zero by 2050, most notable being the recent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report, “Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament”.

The CCC found that the target for 2028-32 is likely to be missed unless the government takes further measures to reduce emissions across the board, including from construction. A key recommendation we highlighted at the time was the need to ‘rapidly upscale the use of wood in construction’. We’ve been urging the Government to seize on these recommendations and the current momentum for a green economic recovery to combat climate and create thousands of ‘green’ jobs.

Yesterday, the Chancellor reflected some of these calls by announcing a £3bn green investment recovery package to decarbonise public buildings and cut emissions from poorly insulated homes. Within this fund, £2 billion will be a green homes grant, where homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, creating work for local businesses.

These vouchers will cover two thirds of the costs, up to £5,000 per household, rising to £10,000 for low-income households.

Around £1 billion will also be spent to improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings such as schools, hospitals, and council buildings. Mr Sunak also declared £50m will fund a pilot scheme to retrofit social housing across the country to make them greener, through measures like heat pumps, insulation and double glazing, potentially lowering energy bills by £200 a year for some of the poorest households.

The Government estimates that these measures would make a total of 650,000 homes more energy-efficient, saving families £300 a year, as well as cutting carbon emissions by half a megaton a year, the equivalent to 270,000 cars off the road, and support around 140,000 green jobs.

Sunak announced a temporary holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland. This is a much-needed proposal to get the housing market moving again and protect construction workers jobs, especially as the level of new starts collapsed in the first six months of the year.

As well as protecting jobs, Mr Sunak announced a “kickstart” scheme to create more jobs for young people. The £2bn fund would subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment. He also pledged to provide 30,000 new traineeships for young people in England, giving firms £1,000 for each new work experience place they offer.

This would not only enthuse more young people joining the workforce but also gives them the opportunity to learn skills that would benefit their future and benefit the longevity of the planet.

Yesterday’s speech marks the start in a long road ahead for the country and as a planet as we start to embrace change towards combatting climate change. As this mini budget and countless reports has told us, through a green approach we will not only create more jobs, we will not only reduce carbon emissions and save the planet, but we will also emerge from Brexit a much more united country that is benefitting everyone in society.