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IPPR - Take a leaf out of Biden playbook and tie green incentives to good, well-paid jobs says IPPR

As the world transitions to net zero, the UK is being left behind through lack of ambition on policies which deliver good jobs and a truly fair transition 

The UK must set out a long-term industrial strategy that includes incentives that are conditional on delivering good quality, local jobs, a new report from IPPR finds. 

Across the world, countries are making the switch from carbon to renewable energy. However, while the USA and EU are capturing the exciting green businesses of the future and supporting workers to transition, the UK is being left behind, the report warns 

It argues that the UK must learn lessons from its past mistakes, and from what other countries are doing now, so that workers, the economy, and the environment can all benefit from the transition to net zero. 

IPPR contrasts UK government inaction with the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is leading the way in terms of creating green jobs and supporting workers to transition into those jobs. IRA is estimated to create 9 million new green jobs in the next decade and is using tax credits to encourage employers to pay well, provide childcare and support unionisation. 

To give businesses certainty and long-term predictability, the US government has also guaranteed that the financial incentives will extend until 2032, with some lasting well into the 2040s. By contrast, the prime minister’s decision to water down long-term green policies in the UK shows a lack of consistency.  

The UK already has the lowest levels of investment in the G7, and has committed less than 1.2 per cent of GDP to address climate change – far behind the 5.2 per cent of GDP being invested by Germany. 

IPPR is calling on the government to create and implement a place-based green industrial strategy to capture renewable jobs and support workers to transition. This should include: 

  • Investing £30bn a year, for a decade, to create new green jobs and meet net zero targets 

  • Ensuring high paid, high skill jobs through adding conditions and incentives as terms of receiving public investment 

  • Providing skills training through the introduction of ‘green skills colleges’ and creating labour clauses requiring businesses to hire and train workers locally 

Joshua Emden, senior research fellow at IPPR, said: 

“The world is moving from 20th century coal, oil and gas, into 21st century wind, solar and nuclear. But while every other country seems to be excited about capturing these new opportunities, the UK is acting like a laggard, seemingly uninterested in enjoying any of the benefits that come with millions of new green jobs. 

“The UK government needs to start investing now in jobs of the future, and offering incentives to businesses to make them good jobs, that pay well and provide social benefits, or else workers, the economy and the environment will suffer.” 

Joseph Evans, researcher at IPPR, said: 

“Tackling climate change is the major challenge of our time. It’s also a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity – one that our government is squandering. 

“There are huge rewards to be reaped from a well-managed green transition, but we risk being left behind by failing to seize the moment. Workers could benefit from an entire generation of new, green jobs, but it’s they who will miss out most.” 

Joshua Emden, Joseph Evans and Luke Murphy, the report’s authors, are available for interview  


  1. The IPPR paper, Fairer Winds: Workers’ rights in the age of transition by Joshua Emden, Joseph Evans and Luke Murphy, will be available for download at: 

  2. Advance copies of the report are available under embargo on request 

  3. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.

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