The Labour party is putting together radical proposals to rescue the economy after the pandemic with a green recovery plan.
The plan will focus on aiding young workers who find themselves without a job by training them to work in green industries.
The shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband, has called for the creation of a ‘zero-carbon army of young people’. This will involve a range of initiatives, from working on green technologies, to insulating buildings and even planting trees.
Speaking to the Guardian, Miliband said that ambition akin to the level seen by Attlee’s post-war Labour government was required in order to tackle the damaged economy as a result of the pandemic, as well as the climate emergency.
“It’s a contemporary equivalent of what happened after 1945,” said Miliband. “It’s never too early to start thinking about the future, to think about what kind of world we want to build as we emerge from this crisis. I think we owe it to have a sort of reassessment of what really matters in our society, and how we build something better for the future.”
Labour will start a swift consultation period with businesses, unions, and workers this week, discussing what a green recovery could look like. Proposals will then be drawn up to be put forward to the government.
“I think we should be aiming for the most ambitious climate recovery plan in the world,” said Miliband. “That should be nothing less than the government’s ambition. The old argument that you can have economic success or environmental care is just completely wrong.”
Miliand expects that this kind of approach would be welcomed by a country already experiencing significant changes in their day-to-day lives. He argues that people are now used to seeing ministers look to scientists for leadership when handling the coronavirus, and a similar approach for tackling the climate crisis would also be expected.
“I do think that there’s a public mood about this,” Miliband said. “Yes, people want to get out of lockdown as soon as it is safe to do so, but also, having been through what they’ve been through, they want something better.
“We need a new deal for our healthcare workers and essential workers, obviously. But we also need a new deal around the quality of people’s lives. That’s what this is about.”
Labour already put together a ‘green industrial revolution’ plan under Jeremy Corbyn which aimed to achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2030. The new plans would build on parts of the existing plan, but with an approach that considers the economic situation post-coronavirus.
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