Chancellor Rishi Sunak will tomorrow announce a £3bn green investment package to create jobs and upgrade buildings as he tries to kick-start the UK’s economic recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.
The Treasury said £1bn of the package will be spent on improving the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Sunak is set to give a major speech tomorrow, announcing measures to tackle the current economic downturn through investment in infrastructure and jobs.
Economists worry that there will be a surge in unemployment as the government’s generous job retention scheme is gradually wound down towards the autumn.
Sunak will announce a £40m scheme to create up to 5,000 “green” jobs. The jobs will support environmental charities and local authorities in improving England’s landscapes, the Treasury said.
The extra money for the economy comes after the government announced a £1.5bn support package for the arts.
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced £5bn of infrastructure spending. He invoked US President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal, saying the UK will “build, build, build” its way out of the slump.
Government aims for net zero target
Sunak’s green investment comes as the UK seeks to burnish its green credentials. The Conservative government has committed to making the UK a net zero carbon country by 2050.
The UK is also set to host the postponed COP climate summit in Glasgow next year.
Nearly a fifth of the UK’s greenhouse emissions come from heating buildings. The Treasury said its decarbonisation programme “will be crucial in moving the country closer to reaching net zero”.
Labour shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: “We have consistently called for a recovery which has energy efficiency at its heart, and will welcome any measures which achieve that.”
However, he said the government’s plans need to be “broader and bigger”. “The French government has promised €15bn for a green recovery, the German government €40bn. The UK government £3bn so far,” he said.