Clive Lewis: Planting trees and creating jobs will save UK economy

Clive Lewis has said creating jobs in tree planting will help the economy recover from lockdown. Pho

Clive Lewis has said creating jobs in tree planting will help the economy recover from lockdown. Photos: Archant/PA - Credit: Archant/PA

A Norfolk MP has said the best chance the UK economy has of recovery following the coronavirus is to back a “radical green recovery plan”.

Clive Lewis has proposed that “our best chance of rescuing the economy” is “creating hundreds of thousands of secure, adequately paid new jobs working on green technologies and doing things like insulating buildings and planting trees.”

MORE: Revealed: The industries where job vacancies are emergingMoves are reportedly already being made at Westminster to provide green economy jobs.

According to The Times, Rishi Sunak is planning a “green industrial revolution”, hiring people made redundant in the pandemic for jobs such as insulation upgrades, offshore wind and carbon capture.

The Norwich South MP said: “A green and resilient way recovery will require full mobilisation of national resources, both public and private.

“Government needs to get to zero carbon emissions by 2030. To make that happen, the government needs to work with employees and their trade unions in every sector of our economy.”

Mr Lewis has proposed that £250bn in ‘green transformation lending’ should be made available to fund the initiative – and said that a Labour government would make £2.5bn available to plant trees in urban parks, farmland and schools.

He went on to say that £75m a year would be made available for new and existing park authorities to manage the sites.

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He said: “That would create around 20,000 new green jobs in forestry management and timber trades. The ultimate aim is to plant two billion new trees by 2040, which is achievable with a sea change in the way things get done today.”

When this policy was launched in the 2019 general election many questioned whether this target was realistic.

MORE: Business leaders outline mandate for enterprise to survive coronavirusHowever Mr Lewis said that it was “scandalous” how far behind the curve Britain was when it came to climate change.

“Averting climate catastrophe could offer huge economic opportunities,” he said. “Instead, this government has presided over a lost decade of productivity and has allowed Britain to fall behind in the green technologies of the future.

“With the right support, Norfolk and the East of England stand to benefit hugely from any transition to a more sustainable economy.”