Green jobs can "kick-start" post-pandemic economic recovery, shadow business secretary says
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband has said that eco-friendly jobs can help the economy recover from the impact of Covid-19 and should be prioritised by the government.
Miliband said that helping businesses retrain staff could generate a “huge number” of green jobs, and that Labour party had begun actively engaging with businesses, unions, and pressure groups on the value of green industry to the economy and on action that can be taken now to "kick-start a green recovery".
The Doncaster North MP said added that the government could stave off mass unemployment by taking immediate “action on green jobs”, professions which could be generated by the need to insulate homes, plant trees, and install charging stations for the new electric cars of the future.
Speaking to BBC Radio Four, Miliband said: "We've seen some terrible redundancies already, for example at Rolls Royce - those workers can work in the green industries in the future.
"Our manufacturers are really struggling in this crisis - many of them want to go green, whether it's in aerospace, or in steel.
"I want to see the government advancing the help that is already planned but needs to be brought forward for them".
Miliband added that the government had been “too slow to help the aviation sector” and other industries, before suggesting that it consider purchasing a stake in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline should it agree to “go green”.
Virgin Atlantic is one airline that has been stricken by the impact of Covid-19. Elaborating on his suggestion, Miliband said: “I would be saying [to Richard Branson] ‘come back onshore, take your company out of the tax haven, we'll look at, for example an equity stake in Virgin if it makes financial sense - but only on the condition that you go green."
Prime minister Boris Johnson is known to favour a greener economy for the future, having said back in April that emphasis on the environment must form part of the government’s recovery plan.
Addressing Parliament last month, the PM stressed that the UK’s goal to eventually cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 will not be hindered by coronavirus.
Johnson said: "We owe it to future generations to build back better and base our recovery on solid foundations, including a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy".