The Stroud MP’s weekly column.
The focus in the coming months will continue to be about protecting lives and preventing Coronavirus from spreading, we must all work together to avoid the need for lockdowns in Gloucestershire.
We are lucky here in Stroud, the Valleys and Vale that we have so many excellent green innovators, many of whom are known around the world. Yet the green sector has to expand everywhere – new challengers, disruptors and established companies must be given support if it is to become the core of our economy. I believe that creating a new generation of green entrepreneurs and retraining people to use their skills in the green sector will enable a faster greener recovery with environmental benefits.
Businesses will need incentivising. The Kickstart jobs scheme – where unemployed young people will be supported into work with their wages paid for six months, and the welcome decision to supercharge Further Education options like apprenticeships, are opportunities for our green companies to train people.
I have asked Ministers about creating green apprenticeships locally following conversations with businesses here and I understand the Kickstart scheme will be launched in September.
The Chancellor’s last statement included green homes grants, public sector building energy efficiencies and a £50m pilot relating to decarbonisation of social housing. These alone are believed to create about 140,000 green jobs. The phasing out of using coal and our clean air strategy which has been praised by the WHO are also positive. Yet we must go further. New buildings, land use, air, waste, transport and energy policies should all be under review for creating green jobs and retraining opportunities. I look forward to speaking to Stroud businesses who will be at the heart of this agenda.