Green for go! Rishi Sunak’s £3billion eco jobs boost pays workers to plant trees, clean up rivers and install insulation as part of the Chancellor’s mini Budget to rev up the faltering economy
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set aside £3billion for a green employment package
- It is focused on cutting emissions, improving environment and creating jobs
- Package will include £1billion to improve energy efficiency at public buildings
- Treasury sources last night said the cash would help fund at least 5,000 jobs
Thousands of workers will be paid to plant trees, clean up rivers and install insulation as part of a new focus on ‘green jobs’ in tomorrow’s mini-Budget.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set aside £3billion for a green employment package focused on cutting emissions, improving the environment and creating jobs.
The package will include £1billion to improve energy efficiency at public buildings such as schools and hospitals through measures including insulation and the installation of heat pumps in place of conventional boilers.
It will also include £40million for a new Green Jobs Challenge Fund to encourage charities and local authorities to create employment in cleaning up the environment.
Treasury sources last night said the cash would help fund at least 5,000 jobs in activities such as creating new green spaces, planting trees and cleaning rivers.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak planting five trees in Richmond with two trustees of the Richmondshire Landscape Trust
The Treasury declined to say how the remaining almost £2billion of the package would be spent.
But Whitehall sources said most of it would go on a massive programme of insulating homes. The move chimes with Daily Mail campaigns promoting both tree planting and litter picking, including the recently re-launched Great September Spring Clean.
It will also contribute towards a Government target of planting 75,000 acres of trees a year by 2025.
A further £50million will go to pilot innovative schemes to ‘retrofit social housing at scale’, with measures including insulation, double glazing and heat pumps.
Heating buildings accounts for almost 20 per cent of the UK’s climate emissions.
Treasury analysis suggests that better insulation could cut household energy bills by up to £200 a year.
Mr Sunak has set aside £3billion for a green employment package focused on cutting emissions, improving the environment and creating jobs
The new scheme could also create thousands of jobs at a time when ministers are desperate to stave off a predicted surge in unemployment.
Ministers are braced for unemployment to return to levels not seen since the 1980s, with the jobless total topping three million. Much of Mr Sunak’s statement tomorrow will focus on measures to create jobs and help workers keep their own.
The Chancellor is considering a national insurance holiday for employers in certain sectors. He is also looking at plans for a temporary VAT cut in the hardest hit sectors, such as hospitality, where 2.4million jobs may be under threat as a result of the lockdown and continuing constraints on business.
Businesses will also be offered £1,000 each for every apprentice they take on, as part of plans to massively increase opportunities for youth training in what is set to be the toughest jobs market for decades.
The Resolution Foundation think tank last night called for a £200billion stimulus package. The organisation said the job retention scheme, which has already protected 9.3 million jobs, should be extended beyond October for those sectors still struggling – a move that Boris Johnson has already ruled out.
Ministers are braced for unemployment to return to levels not seen since the 1980s, with the jobless total topping three million
And it called for ‘high street vouchers’ worth £500 to be handed to every adult to boost demand – an idea that has been considered by officials. The think tank also suggests that a £10billion increase in Universal Credit could help prevent rising unemployment leading to a collapse in consumer confidence.
Green groups warned that the £3billion package was much too small to deliver on the Government’s legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Ed Matthew, of think tank E3G, said: ‘If this is the total level of energy efficiency investment they are pledging then it is peanuts.’