Rapid steps are needed for Britain to compete in the green industrial revolution, says IPPR

The body that produced the report has close ties to the Labor Party, which is said to be eagerly awaiting the document despite rolling back its £30 billion green investment plan.

By means of Ed Conway, economics and data editor @EdConwaySky


Wednesday May 15, 2024 08:00, UK

Britain has a chance to compete in the green industrial revolution, but only if the government takes swift steps to help strengthen the industry, according to a major new report.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank’s analysis shows that while Britain has deindustrialised faster than any other comparable country in the developed world, it still has a chance to rebuild its industrial base and compete on the green technologies needed to reach the industry. net zero.

The new report comes as countries around the world compete for green technologies such as electric cars, solar panels and… wind turbines.

The White House imposed the measure on Tuesday 100% tariffs on imports of Chinese electric vehicles, as well as 50% tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The US And China have both introduced massive subsidy schemes aimed at boosting their green production.

In Britain, despite several government pledges to ‘level up’ and introduce ‘industrial strategy’ programmes, there is nothing comparable to the programs in the US, China or, for that matter, the EU .

An advantage in certain sectors

The new IPPR analysis is one of the first attempts to identify which sectors of the UK economy have an opportunity to compete on a global basis. It finds that while Britain has indeed deindustrialised much faster than other G7 countries, it still has a comparative advantage in certain sectors.

These include the manufacture of heat pumpswind turbines and green transport, including electric cars and trains.

The analysis will be closely watched as the IPPR is seen as the leading left-wing think tank in Britain, with close ties to the Labor Party. although Rachel Reeves has has abandoned the promise of her party To increase green investment to £28bn, she and her colleagues are believed to be eagerly awaiting the IPPR report as she draws up her own plan for UK industry.

Biden on Chinese tariffs on electric vehicles

George Dibb, IPPR deputy director for economic policy, said: “We have identified more than 150 different products that are key to the net zero transition. Britain already has a competitive advantage compared to other countries in several of these. but we need to build on that to move forward.

“We emphasize three areas in particular: heat pumps, green transport and wind. In these three sectors, the UK economy is particularly well positioned to take advantage of future growth opportunities.

He added: “There is a race towards net zero. The US, Europe and China are all fighting for this investment. Businesses need to know that Britain is a place to go. So one of the things we need [from the government] is a real industrial strategy.”

The political response

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero, said: “With our abundant natural resources, Britain can be a world leader in green industries. But we are being let down by a clown car government that is sending jobs abroad and waving the white flag for British industry.

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“Labor says it’s time for a new era of industrial policy – ​​we unapologetically care about what Britain makes, where we make it and how we make it. That is why we will establish GB Energy, a state-owned energy company, and a National Wealth Fund to invest in rebuilding the strength of our national industries.”

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