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Local leaders call for new powers and retrofit army to deliver net zero

Words: Huw Morris
Net zero

A 'retrofit army' of nearly half a million builders, electricians and plumbers will be needed to help meet the government’s objective of becoming net zero by 2050.

UK100, a network of local government leaders who have pledged to deliver 100 per cent clean energy by 2050, also claims more than 3.1 million jobs will be affected by the shift to green jobs and will need access to skills and training from the government and industry.

Now the Resilient Recovery Taskforce, a cross-party group of 24 mayors and local leaders in the UK100 network, is calling on chancellor Rishi Sunak to invest £5 billion under the comprehensive spending review which could unlock £100 billion of private finance. This could create more than 455,000 jobs.

The taskforce has issued a declaration calling on the government to create a “net zero development bank” to increase private investment in renewable technologies. This should be accompanied by a long-term plan to retrofit homes across the country, a commitment to provide widespread access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure as well as investment in renewing the electricity grid with Ofgem given a new duty to support net zero delivery.

The taskforce also calls for an enhanced devolution settlement under which mayors and local authorities have new powers to deliver net zero.

“By investing in nearly half a million skilled and secure jobs as part of the spending review, the chancellor could lay the foundation for a resilient and sustainable recovery across the country and ensure that we have the workforce we need to actually build back better and greener,” said taskforce chair and Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake.

“Local authorities are ready to play our part in helping the country meet its legal Net Zero obligations.”