Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a £3 billion green investment programme to create jobs, decarbonise public buildings and protect the environment as part of government’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.
The £3 billion investment in green schemes aims to help the UK “build back greener” and meet its legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The chancellor will seek to use Wednesday’s summer statement on the economy to announce the creation of thousands of green jobs in the construction industry.
As part of the package, £1 billion is expected to be set aside to transform schools, hospitals and other public buildings so they are ‘greener and more energy efficient’.
The funding for public buildings will pay for measures such as insulation, efficiency and green heating technology to cut emissions and save energy in places such as schools, hospitals, military bases and prisons.
Opposition parties and environmental groups said, however, that the green investment pledge was inadequate to meet the challenge posed by global heating.
Rosie Rogers, Greenpeace UK’s head of green recovery, said: “Surely this is just a down payment?
“The German government’s pumping a whopping £36bn into climate change-cutting, economy-boosting measures and France is throwing £13.5bn at tackling the climate emergency. £3bn isn’t playing in the same league.”
Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said: “We have consistently called or a recovery which has energy efficiency at its heart and will welcome any measures which achieve that.
When the moment demands the most ambitious green recovery possible, the government has not so far risen to the challenge
“But this needs to be part of a much broader and bigger scale strategy for getting on track for net zero, which includes a zero carbon army of young people being put back to work, investment in renewable energy and a plan to green our transport network. When the moment demands the most ambitious green recovery possible, the government has not so far risen to the challenge.”
The news follows the announcement of a £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund to bring forward funding to help charities and environmental organisations start work on projects across England to ‘restore nature and tackle climate change’.
The fund will set out to help conservation organisations and their suppliers create up to 3,000 jobs and safeguard up to 2,000 others in areas such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.