The Trades Union Congress (TUC) warns that 600,000 jobs – largely supply chain and manufacturing jobs – may be at risk if the UK fails to transition to net zero soon. 

The union has warned that ultimately many job opportunities may be moved offshore to other countries which have greater support for decarbonising industries.

This includes over a quarter of a million jobs (259,700) at direct risk in manufacturing sectors and almost half a million (407,100) supply chain jobs at secondary risk across the UK economy, including jobs in construction, transport, and trade.

Separate research carried out by the TUC found that the UK ranks second lowest out of the G7 countries in terms of its investment in green industries and jobs.

The analysis suggested that around 44,000 green jobs could be created over the next decade through its current levels of investment.

However, it further explained that this number could rise tenfold if the UK matched the contributions of other countries such as Germany, Italy or the US.

This is despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to invest £4 billion in order to support the creation of new, green jobs and to promote the recovery of the UK economy following the pandemic.

However, the TUC is urging the Government to go further through actioning the recommendations of the Green Jobs Taskforce in full.

This is in addition to calls for putting forward an £85 billion green recovery package to create 1.24 million green jobs as well as implementing a short-time working scheme to protect workers and their jobs through future economic changes.

General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

The world is moving very clearly in one direction – away from carbon and toward net zero. The UK must keep up with the pace of change.

There’s still time to protect vital jobs in manufacturing and its supply chains. But the clock is ticking.

Unless the government urgently scales up investment in green tech and industry, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of decent jobs to competitor nations.

If we move quickly, we can still safeguard Britain’s industrial heartlands. The government should boost investment to at least the G7 average and commit to the Green Jobs Taskforce plans in full.  Then today’s workers will know that their jobs are safe, and the future can be bright with decent jobs for their children too.

However, a spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy disputed claims made by the TUC:

In recent months we’ve secured record investment in wind power, published a world-leading Hydrogen Strategy, pledged £1bn in funding to support the development of carbon capture and launched a landmark North Sea Transition Deal – the first G7 nation to do so – that will protect our environment, generate huge investment and create and support thousands of jobs.