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Press Release: 28.01.09

28th January 2009

Green jobs could boost local economy

Gordon Henderson believes that Conservative plans to create new “green” jobs could give a much needed boosts to Swale’s economy.

So called “green collar” jobs could help counter a growing number of job losses that has see unemployment rising faster in Swale than in many other parts of Kent.

The Conservative plans for a ‘low carbon economy’, which were announced last week by David Cameron, are design not only to create new jobs, but also to bring fuel bills down and protect the environment.

It comes as official figures show that there are 291,000 households in fuel poverty across the South East, a rise of 95% since 2003.

The new Conservative proposals include:

1. Energy efficiency improvements for local homes: Allowing every home to be fitted immediately with up to £6,500 of approved energy efficiency improvements. The cost would be repaid through fuel bills over a period of up to 25 years. There would be immediate reductions in the gas and electricity bills of households taking part.

2. More information on energy usage: Requiring energy suppliers to ensure that every gas and electricity bill gives comparative information about energy use; and introducing new ‘smart meter’ technology, to give people more information on household and workplace appliances.

3. More small-scale renewable energy: Creating a decentralised energy revolution by introducing a system of ‘feed in tariffs’ for electricity generation to multiply electricity production from micro-generation. Home owners would be paid for energy they generated from their own home.

4. Local firms to help home owners: Introducing new rules that allow employers to meet their carbon reduction requirements by sponsoring energy efficiency improvements in their employees’ homes.

5. An electricity internet:  Bringing our electricity grid out of the 1950s and 1960s by adding computing intelligence through the introduction of a ‘smart grid’, allowing demand and supply to be intelligently managed.

6. Support for electric and hybrid cars: Establishing a new national recharging network, enabling Britain to lead the world in replacing traditional cars with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

7. Better rail links: Starting work immediately on a new high speed rail network linking cities in the North and South, boosting economic regeneration and jobs, and removing the need for a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Henderson said:

“By embracing new technologies, we can keep energy bills down, reduce carbon emissions and create new green jobs. Real help will be brought to families struggling to make ends meet during the current recession.

“It’s a great idea to allow every household to have up to £6,500 worth of insulation fitted at no upfront cost. This would mean instant reductions in energy bills and would dramatically cut the carbon footprint of every home in Swale.

“Perhaps more importantly, local companies would be in a good position to tender for the job of insulating thousands of homes. It could create many more green jobs, give a real boost to our economy and go some way towards countering the growing number of job losses in other industries.”

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