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Up to 35,000 jobs at risk without faster transition to net zero, TUC warns

UP TO 35,000 manufacturing jobs in the south-west are at risk if Britain does not speed up its net-zero transition, the TUC has warned.

New analysis by the union body found that aerospace, automotive, chemicals and shipbuilding are the areas most at risk of production being offshored to countries with laxer emission constraints.

The TUC said additional employment will also be at risk in local supply chains, on top of the factory and plant jobs under threat from offshoring due to Britain’s lack of a green industrial strategy.

Its research considered factors including each sector’s overall fossil fuel consumption, the ability for domestic production to be replaced with imports, investment in new technology and upgrades needed to decarbonise.

It also looked at the comparative investment by competitor countries, as well as expected future demand, and targets to phase-out the industry’s current technologies such as the 2035 new petrol car ban.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak, who is set to visit Hinkley Point C nuclear plant today, said: “The race to net zero is a race for industrial revival.  

“If we move quickly, we can protect and create thousands of good jobs across the south-west. But if we don’t, we risk industrial decline and haemorrhaging jobs abroad. 

"Other countries are already scaling up investment and subsidies in clean technology. We need the same approach here. 

“We must act now to safeguard our manufacturing sector.

“Hinkley Point C is an example of the good union jobs that can be created when unions, industry and government act together.” 

But CND general secretary Kate Hudson argued that nuclear power is not the answer to achieving net zero.

She said: “A rapid transition to net zero – and a government industrial and environmental strategy that makes that happen – is long overdue.

“What is absolutely not necessary, either for clean energy or increased jobs, is nuclear power production.

“Paul Nowak’s choice of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to make his is unfortunate.

“Nuclear power is not part of the answer to clean energy and net zero.  It is not a clean technology, either in production or in waste disposal.

“With renewables on stream, nuclear power is unnecessary and hugely expensive — Hinkley is billions over budget.

“So it’s yes to a rapid transition to net zero, and yes to more jobs – but in genuinely clean and sustainable sectors, not in nuclear power.”

Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, told the Morning Star: “Net zero is a massive opportunity for high-skilled, well-paid, unionised jobs in the West of England.

"Mayoral Combined Authorities like mine are doing all we can at a regional level to shape the green jobs revolution. But we are being let down by a government without a coherent industrial strategy.

“I have introduced initiatives like Retrofit West working with trade unions to kickstart the insulation of homes.

“We already have amazing transferable skills to offer - our aerospace and advanced engineering cluster is the largest in the UK.

“The choice is now clear - ministers can be sore losers in the face of the US’s Inflation Reduction Act and EU’s equally ambitious plans, or they can get in the race - and be in it to win it.

“If they’re unable to do that, then they should step aside and let someone else try.”

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