Labour and Lib Dems battle on green tech jobs

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have stepped up the emphasis on green technology in their election campaigns, publishing manifestos that promise the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry.

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Labour and the Liberal Democrats have stepped up the emphasis on green technology in their election campaigns, publishing manifestos that promise the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry.

Both parties stated yesterday that environmentally friendly industries will become a vital part of Britain’s economy, and have placed a clear emphasis on the development of new green systems. The Conservatives, conversely, made no new announcements on the environment over the weekend, and did not mention it during last Thursday’s leaders’ debate.

Prime minister Gordon Brown vowed to create 400,000 green jobs by 2015, including technology posts. His manifesto, ‘A green future’, advocated a “high-tech, low-carbon economy”, under which 40 percent of energy would come from low-carbon sources by 2020. The move “will create a huge market for the manufacture and installation of low carbon and environmental technologies and their associated services”, said the manifesto.

Labour has promised it would support the expansion of the technology industry on a number of occasions, including through a pledge in last month’s Budget to create 20,000 university places in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. But the £30 million funding allocated to a web science institute, aimed at securing the UK’s digital future, was criticised by some as not enough.

In its manifesto, Labour said the job creation would be funded by a £2 billion ‘Green investment bank’. It also emphasised the role of smart grids, reiterating a promise for smart meters in all homes by 2020.

The Liberal Democrats published their own ‘Policies for the environment’ manifesto, which promised the creation of 100,000 jobs, supported by £3.1 billion spending in the first year.

The party’s manifesto promised the creation of a “dynamic electricity grid” that would “better connect and integrate new, clean energy technologies” and would lead to the development of a European ‘supergrid’.

It also promised to help increase the investment in green technology, and to encourage other European Union countries to do the same. The new Infrastructure Planning Commission would be closed down, it said, in favour of local decisions on projects.

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