Cutting ‘green levies’ could endanger thousands of construction jobs

Published:  19 November, 2013

More than 10,000 construction and insulation jobs could be lost – many as early as Christmas – if the government decides to cut ‘green levies’ on energy bills, the UK Green Building Council has warned.

Construction firms installing energy efficiency measures through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and manufacturers which make products such as solid wall insulation, fear jobs will be lost if ECO is scrapped or scaled back. The Association of the Conservation of Energy estimates that up to 33,000 people are currently employed delivering ECO and the Green Deal.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: "The Prime Minister needs to realise that going after ECO in a bid to cut household energy bills could end up costing 10,000 construction and insulation jobs. That will decimate the very industry that is helping people reduce their bills in the long-term."

Rob Lambe, managing director of Willmott Dixon Energy Services, outlined how his company would be affected by the cut. "We have invested heavily in establishing a business to respond to the projected market opportunities of energy efficiency under ECO,” he explained. “Over the next year we anticipated employing more than 400 tradesmen installing insulation to solid-walled properties. If ECO funding is cut, this work will simply come to a grinding halt and these jobs will be lost, with thousands more at risk in the wider industry."

Sally Hancox, director at social housing specialist Gentoo Group, added: "The position the industry currently finds itself in is extremely serious. We are calling for urgent action to be taken before more jobs are put at risk and vulnerable households are left to choose between eating and heating their home this winter.

“We believe that the Coalition's strong initial commitment to ECO remains right; the large-scale installation of green measures actively stimulates economic activity, creates jobs, and addresses the growing issue of fuel poverty."

Government is expected to announce its intentions in the Autumn Statement on 5 December.

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