Green plans to boost renewable energy will destroy up to 30,000 British jobs, according to a hard-hitting report.
David Cameron and his ministers have repeatedly claimed that raising green taxes to pay for subsidies for low carbon technologies such as wind farms will boost economic growth and create 70,000 ‘green collar’ jobs.
But that claim has been torpedoed by John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, an independent group that studies the green energy industry.
He said the Prime Minister’s hopes were ‘staggeringly far-fetched’ and warned that the subsidies will put people on the dole and lead to higher energy prices. Mr Constable studied the EU-wide subsidies and concluded that Spain will generate huge numbers of green jobs while workers and consumers in the UK are hit hard.
‘Green economic policies mean more pain than gain for Britain,’ he concluded. ‘The “green economy” will drain investment from other sectors, making Britons pay more for electricity indefinitely and live less productive lives with access to fewer jobs.’
The report, entitled The Green Mirage, exposes the colossal scale of public subsidies for renewable energy and warns that by propping up many of these schemes, ministers have simply ‘picked losers’ and prevented the development of more cost-effective ways of generating energy.
It says the UK’s £5billion subsidy to renewable electricity generators in the eight years to 2010 was the equivalent of paying every worker in the wind industry £230,000. Each job in the wind industry was subsidised to the tune of £54,000 last year.
The Green Mirage quotes models developed for the European Commission which suggested that the EU’s climate policies will have only ‘slight’ benefits for GDP and employment by 2020, but that these will not be felt by Britain.
The Commission’s study suggested that Spain would gain 120,000 jobs under current green policies, rising to more than 150,000 if subsidies are increased, the report said.
But Britain stands to lose 10,000 jobs under the current anti-global warming regime, potentially rising to 30,000 if policies are speeded up.
Mr Constable said: ‘Continuing to subsidise renewables will impose high costs on the rest of the economy. This will result in net job losses and loss of international competitiveness.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘Increasing the amount of renewable energy we produce in Britain won’t only help our energy security, but will create new business and job opportunities for the economy.’
A spokesman for industry body RenewablesUK said the figures used by Mr Constable were not a reliable guide.
Developments over the past decade were largely focused on onshore wind technology, where the UK had been left behind. But in the coming years, investment was expected to be directed towards offshore wind, where Britain is set to be a market leader.