The TUC’s new report on rebuilding the UK’s industrial sector and taking the lead on building a cleaner, greener planet is a useful addition to the renewed attention on industrial strategy.

Unlike Theresa May and the Conservative Party, the TUC has been a vocal proponent of an industrial strategy for decades.

‘Powering Ahead: How UK industry can match Europe’s environmental leaders’ is based on new research from Germany and Denmark by the TUC’s Senior Policy Officer Tim Page. It highlights the UK’s need for a targeted “Energiewende”, and explores how we can build on existing strengths in both offshore wind and the car industry – with electric cars a key part of the future.

In the context of the Brexit vote, ‘Powering Ahead’ addressEs the challenge to give new economic opportunities to those regions of Britain that have experienced de-industrialisation and did not benefit from globalisation.

The dangers of global warming are climate change are massive; but so are the opportunities to refashion our economic and industrial infrastructure as we seek to meet those dangers. Germany and Denmark, their governments, companies and trade unions, have taken these opportunities and are already world leaders in environmental technology. The UK has lagged behind.

Labour Energy Forum supports a number of the TUC’s recommendations, including:

The UK offshore wind sector is highly successful, but needs to deliver more UK content. Any new trade agreement between the UK and EU must include social clauses similar to those enshrined in EU procurement directives to support jobs and skills in this sector.
Cuts to renewable energy subsidies, undertaken shortly after the 2015 General Election, should be reversed.
The US government has set up the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which is supporting pioneering work in renewable energy, including battery technology. The UK must consider developing a similar structure here, if this work cannot be undertaken by an existing agency.
New industrial sectors should be targeted on those communities that lost their livelihoods with the demise of heavy industry.

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