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Cutting green levies could put 10,000 jobs in danger

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has warned that cutting green levies could put construction jobs at risk

The UK-GBC, joined by other members of the construction industry, has claimed that more than 10,000 jobs could go if the government throws out schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Prime minister David Cameron had suggested that green levies would be scaled back after criticism about the costs they add to household energy bills.

Dubbed a ‘green tax’, the ECO is currently the only regulation that forces energy companies to fund energy efficiency improvements for low income households.

The Association of the Conservation of Energy (ACE) estimate up to 33,000 people are currently employed delivering ECO and the Green Deal, with this figure set to rise to 60,000 by 2015.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, 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 – including some of the most vulnerable in society – reduce their bills in the long-term.’

Rob Lambe, managing director of Willmott Dixon Energy Services, commented: ‘We have invested heavily in establishing a business to respond to the projected market opportunities of energy efficiency under ECO. Over the next year we anticipated employing more than 400 tradesmen installing insulation to solid walled properties. But 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.’

The large scale installation of green measures actively stimulates economic activity

Sally Hancox, director at Gentoo, which last week saw a £500,000 ECO funded scheme withdrawn by an energy company two weeks before it was due to start, added: ‘The position the industry currently finds itself in is extremely serious and we are calling for urgent action to be taken before more jobs are put at risk and vulnerable households left to choose between eating or heating their home this winter. We believe that the Coalition’s brave, strong initial commitment to ECO remains right; the large scale installation of green measures actively stimulates economic activity, it creates jobs, and addresses the growing issue of fuel poverty.’

Last month the UK-GBC backed by more than 50 companies including architects Bennetts Associates, Wilkinson Eyre, 5th Studio and Willmott Dixon, sent a letter to Cameron arguing that energy efficiency is the ‘only sure way’ to protect households from rising costs.

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