The TUC is recommending that unspent funding is passed over to the Local Authority allocation, where solar is an eligible technology.
Of the 100,000 new jobs to result from the Green Homes Grant, only 14,500 of these have been created to date.
This is according to new analysis from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which warned that over 8,000 of these jobs could be lost in 2021-2022 as a result of the government cutting the funding to the scheme. It was announced in February that any unspent funds from the £2 billion scheme would not be rolled over to the next financial year.
This would be a “wrecking ball” to green jobs, according to TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, with the TUC pointing to how the scheme was the government’s flagship policy to build back better and create green jobs, having been announced in the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs in July 2020 as well as being reiterated in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.
As a result, the TUC is now calling on the government to reverse the decision, fully fund the scheme and invest in “a powerful green stimulus to create millions more decent jobs” in the Budget on Wednesday.
It outlined how funding for the scheme should not be cut, but instead redirected towards the Local Authority allocation of the scheme – the only section that funds solar PV. This is due to Local Authorities having delivered on £74 million of their £500 million share by November, with the TUC adding they are likely to use their full budget by March, “demonstrating greater readiness to create jobs”.
The TUC has also set out plans to create 1.24 million green jobs over the next two years, with these jobs including retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient as well as installing faster broadband, developing modern transport links and bringing forward new green technology. In its retrofitting proposal, the TUC said 212,000 new jobs could be created and earmarked local authorities for delivery.
“The Green Homes Grant was supposed to create jobs, not cost them,” O’Grady said, adding that in pulling the funding the government has shown it “isn’t serious” about building back better.
“A proper green jobs drive could stop mass unemployment, help power our economic recovery and tackle climate change.”
This follows numerous calls to both the Chancellor and Prime Minister to reverse the funding cut decision, including from the REA, the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, Solar Energy UK along with the MCS, REAL and HIES and a variety of other organisations.
These calls have not only focused on the funding decision, but also the various problems the scheme has faced, including members of the public waiting months to be issued vouchers and delays in installers being paid. A collection of 11 organisations – including Greenpeace UK, Possible, the New Economics Foundation and National Energy Action – called on the government to streamline and improve the scheme, stating a well-executed, long-term green homes programme could support 190,000 green jobs to 2030.