Net zero strategy 'to support up to 440,000 jobs', business minister says

19 October 2021, 13:25 | Updated: 19 October 2021, 15:13

The Government has outlined its net zero strategy: The Heat and Building Strategy.
The Government has outlined its net zero strategy: The Heat and Building Strategy. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The Government's net zero strategy "will support up to 440,000 jobs" across all parts of the UK in 2030, the business and energy minister has announced.

Making a statement in the Commons, Greg Hands said: "This is not just an environmental transition, it represents an important economic change too."

He told the Commons switching to cleaner sources of energy will reduce Britain's reliance on fossil fuels and will "bring down costs down the line".

He added: "We will fully embrace this new green industrial revolution helping the UK to level up as we build back better and get to the front of the global race to go green.

"We need to capitalise on this to ensure British industries and workers benefit. I can therefore announce that the strategy will support up to 440,000 jobs across sectors and across all parts of the UK in 2030."

What is the net zero strategy and what does it mean?

  • The Government's plan is to phase out fossil fuels over the next 30 years
  • The Heat and Building Strategy includes an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars
  • Their new strategy outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power, supporting hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030
  • A £1.5 billion fund has been announced to support net zero innovation projects, which provides funding for low carbon technologies
  • There are plans to improve the energy performance of our buildings through measures such as grants of up to £5,000 towards the cost of heat pumps
  • A further £800 million for the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund will be introduced to upgrade social housing
  • And there will be a £950 million Home Upgrade Scheme to improve and decarbonise low income homes, off the gas grid

Read more: £5k grants to help households replace boilers with heat pumps

The strategy has been described as "unambitious" by the Labour party.

They also said a fund to help people switch from gas boilers to low-carbon heat pump is only sufficient to convert 90,000 homes.

Labour's Clive Lewis (Norwich South) branded it a "burn now, pay later document and strategy that isn't fit for purpose".

He said: "There's two problems with the Government's net zero strategy: net and zero. Zero because it isn't zero, we know there are sectors beyond 2050 like aviation, that will be pumping out millions of tonnes into the atmosphere, and net because we know they are relying on negative emissions technologies which, frankly, are based on science fiction, of which there is no prospect of mass rollout, and we are banking on this to rescue us from the climate crisis.

However, Chris Stark, chief executive of statutory advisers the Climate Change Committee, said the strategy is a "substantial step forward".

"We didn't have a plan before, now we do," he said.

"This is a substantial step forward that lays out clearly the Government's ambitions to cut emissions across the economy over the coming 15 years and beyond.

"It provides much more clarity about what lies ahead for businesses and individuals and the key actions required in the coming decades to deliver a net zero nation.

"It also gives the UK a strong basis to be president of the forthcoming Cop26 summit.

"The critical next step is turning words into deeds. We have begun to assess the strategy in more detail and the extent to which the policies proposed in this strategy deliver their ambition."

Labour chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Darren Jones said: "People across the country will want to know whether the promises made today will actually be delivered or once again result in failure."

He asked: "How the vouchers schemes announced today will be delivered differently to the failed schemes of the past such as the green homes grant?"

Mr Hands replied: "In the last 30 years to have reduced emissions so successfully whilst actually achieving economic growth, I think, is a record overall of success....This new scheme will go with the flow, it'll be simpler, easier to administer."