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Government’s net-zero strategy risks failure without plan for green sector jobs and skills

MPs warned today that the government’s net-zero strategy risks failure without a detailed working plan for the jobs and skills needed in the green sector.

The environmental audit committee (EAC) said that despite announcements committing millions of pounds to green jobs initiatives, the government has yet to define what a “green job” is and how they are to be filled.

The net-zero strategy, which claims to support up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, would have been the ideal opportunity to offer clarity on how to define what a “green job” is and how it can be measured, according to the EAC’s green jobs report. 

Representatives of energy workers warned immediate action is needed to ensure sufficient skills are developed to match the needs of the future, and to avoid hardwiring inequality into the green economy.

The RMT said that the government can make progress in the Budget this week to prevent job losses, and by ending the attacks on workers’ pay and conditions. 

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Ahead of Cop26, the government is spouting a lot of hot air on green jobs which is jeopardising jobs and skills central to take-off in essential net-zero industries such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.” 

Sue Ferns, senior deputy general secretary of Prospect and member of the government’s green jobs taskforce, said: “Ensuring that people have the skills and decent jobs to thrive is a key part of levelling-up the economy and a just transition to a net zero. 

“There will be no just transition or political dividend on levelling-up for the government unless we make sure quality green British jobs are at the heart of our plans.”

A government spokesman said: “To build on this success, we are delivering various initiatives to ensure people have the right skills to gain employment in Britain’s new low-carbon industries.”

The report comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged a new Scottish energy strategy, setting out how to make the “fastest possible transition” away from oil and gas. 

The strategy, to be published next year, will be based on the understanding that “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels … is not consistent with our climate obligations,” she said. 

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