The Green New Deal group came together in 2007 because its members were all convinced that a huge economic downturn was imminent and that one answer to it would be a Green New Deal to fund green infrastructure that could help tackle climate change and generate, jobs and business and savings opportunities in every constituency.
Ten years on the IMF is warning that global debt is now worse than before the financial crisis and another serious downturn is on the cards.
Since our first report three things have changed that strengthens our original arguments. Firstly the Brexit vote began to force politicians to at least talk about policies that could help the ‘left behind’, secondly there is now much more discussion of the states role in improving the UK’s infrastructure and thirdly the Quantitative Easing programme has weakened the mantra against any large scale change ie how are we going to pay for it?
Also the last election showed that politics is more volatile in the UK so the report will be in the form of a brief manifesto for a snap election. It will cover why another serious down turn is on the cards. What green infrastructure could generate economic activity to mitigate this, plus address the threat posed by automation and finally and most crucially how such a Green New Deal could be funded.
Amongst the arguments it will use are:
What is required is a Green ‘Magic Money Tree’ that funds jobs in every constituency, emphasises reducing carbon but also compensates for likely imminent job losses through automation. A priority must be labour intensive sectors that are difficult to automate and which contribute to the other key considerations of improving the UK’s social and environmental sustainability.
Face to face caring such as health, education and elderly care will of course attract most attention, but equally key is a climate friendly infrastructure programme. Crucial to this will be to make the UK’s 30 million buildings super-energy-efficient, thus dramatically reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. The housing crisis should be tackled by building affordable, highly insulated new homes, predominantly on brown field sites and transport must concentrate on rebuilding local public transport links.
This massive work programme would provide a more secure career structure for decades and would involve a huge numbers of adequately paid apprenticeships and professional jobs and increase opportunities for the self employed and local small businesses. In addition to a massive ‘Peoples QE’ infrastructure programme, funding could come from fairer taxes and the availability for savers of investments in local authority bonds and green ISAs. Since such savers are likely to be predominantly older this would also be a necessary exercise in intergenerational solidarity.

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