22 April 2009
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, the Green Party's leader, told Radio 4's The World at One today that the government is throwing away the potential to create hundreds of thousands of extra jobs by failing to invest adequately in insulating buildings, in solar energy and other renewables, in upgrading the electricity grid, in public transport and in new skills training.
Britain is lagging behind other countries in the "greenness" of its so-called "green stimulus" plan, she said - against the advice of its own advisors.
Dr Lucas pointed out that the government's own watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission, (SDC) had proposed a £30bn package very similar to the Green Party's Budget proposals - and which SDC calculated would create 800,000 jobs.
She described the chancellor's "green stimulus" as "one-tenth or less of what it should be" if the UK were to meet serious emissions targets and maximise the job-creation potential of sectors like energy, where renewables sustain far more jobs per megawatt than either nuclear or coal.
On scrappage, Caroline Lucas disagreed that this would create significant numbers of jobs, but proposed a better way forward. She said the way to go was to build the cars to last, and refit and improve them over time - which would reduce the associated energy while significantly increasing the amount of labour involved, by comparison with new manufacture.
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