The Tees needs a green revolution

The devil is in the detail. We've had a few days now to digest the small print of the budget and while there was a lot to be positive about in terms of jobs for the Tees, there was a lot that wasn't addressed too.

For me the biggest disappointment was that the government have missed a golden opportunity to really kick-start a new green industrial revolution. We are geared up for that in this area. We have the skill and the will to lead the world in these new technologies. But we need investment to spark it and there was nothing.

This was a budget written at a time when the world is recovering from a global pandemic and an even bigger crisis is looming: The climate crisis. It should be a time for a significant green stimulus. For a commitment to net zero projects in the Tees Valley and beyond.

Whilst many In Teesside are celebrating a free port, there are local manufacturers and businesses who feel they have been left out in the cold and many green industries, left hanging as to what funds and support they will be given in the future.

The question is will this be enough to reduce the years of industrial decline and lack of investment? Will this change the direction and help shape a new future on the Tees?

We need funds to invest in green industries no matter where they are. We need the funds to embark on the mammoth task of up skilling and training a new workforce of the future.

We need to support those fitting solar panels and EV charging points. We need to fund solar farms and wind farms. We need to support clean steel making. We need to support wind turbine production and decommissioning of the old oil rigs.

These are all industries with a guaranteed future because there is absolutely no doubt at all that at some point we will all need to act, to prevent the climate crisis that is unfolding.

Labour has called repeatedly for £30billion to be invested in a green economic recovery to develop clean technologies, put Britain ahead of the curve in this vital new sector and create 400,000 jobs across the country.

In the 112 pages of the Budget there was nothing for these technologies, nothing to promote the electric battery supply chain despite a need for new gigafactories. Nothing about the £250m Clean Steel Fund scheme the government announced a year and a half ago. It was a missed opportunity. And time is running out fast.

We need the Tees to be at the cutting edge of that industrial revolution, creating high-skilled jobs in building the low-carbon infrastructure of the future. We need to be geared to renewables, carbon capture and clean steel. And we need investment. Now.

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