This letter was published by the Guardian on 27 September:
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech had three crucial and interlinked components: the need to transform the economy, to prioritise improving conditions in the “left-behind” areas, and a call for a “green jobs revolution in every nation and region”. But your editorial (27 September) made the common mistake of emphasising wind and tidal schemes to help disadvantaged areas. Important as these green energy sources are, the real potential for jobs in every constituency lies in making the UK’s existing 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public-sector buildings energy-efficient, with renewable technology such as solar PV fitted where feasible. There are, for example, 8m homes with solid walls which are without any effective insulation, and nearly 40m smart meters still need to be installed.
The majority of this work has to be done locally and has the advantage of being hard to automate or relocate abroad; it also requires a wide range of activities and skills that are likely to be needed for decades. It will therefore inevitably help improve job opportunities for the “left-behind” communities, with resultant knock-on economic benefits for the communities where these workers live and work. Owen Jones (Labour needed a reset button – and it got one, 27 September) asserted that Jeremy Corbyn’s crucial identification of climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity made it a bread-and-butter issue. Equally the role of a green revolution in jobs in improving the lives of those in leave-voting areas could well make it a bread and Brexit issue as well.
Colin Hines
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group