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The Troublemaker—No growth in green jobs while energy profits rocket

While energy bosses' rake in massive profits the number of green jobs in the renewable energy sector is falling
Issue 2793
Green jobs are needed in the renewable energy industry

Green jobs in the renewable energy industry aren’t being created (pic: JonBJem on Flickr)

Forget all the blather, Britain’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy has failed to grow since 2014 and official data shows a fall in the number of green jobs.

The Office for National Statistics last week said its latest figures, covering 2020, showed “no significant change” in turnover and job numbers in the sector compared with six years earlier.

Employment in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy—which includes manufacturing, energy supply and construction—fell by about 28,000 across Britain over the period.

Among the steepest declines were in factories producing energy-efficient products, onshore wind, and solar energy. The sector with the largest growth in jobs was in low-emission vehicles and infrastructure, where ­employment more than doubled to 19,100.

But this was not enough to offset bigger falls elsewhere, including a decline of or 32,000, in the number of jobs in energy-efficient product manufacturing. Britain’s big six energy firms have banked more than £7 billion in operating profit in just five years. The figures come just as the energy price cap, the maximum amount a utility company can charge a customer each year, is set to rise by 54 percent.

Five of the biggest energy firms have recorded £7.66 billion in cumulative earnings before interest and taxes.

The figures, based on an analysis of statements prepared for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) regulator, show that SSE, Scottish Power, E.ON, EDF and Centrica—which owns British Gas—have all banked operating profits.

Only Npower, acquired by E.ON in 2019, posted losses in its Ofgem filings from 2016-19 under parent company RWE.


  • Ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock broke equality law by handing Tory peer Dido Harding a top health job, the High Court found last week. 

Two judges ruled that Hancock did not comply with a public sector equality duty in relation to appointments of Conservative peer Baroness Dido Harding and Mike Coupe to posts in 2020. 

The ruling centred on Hancock’s decision to appoint Baroness Harding as interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection in August 2020 and ex-Sainsbury’s boss Coupe as director of testing for NHS Test and Trace in September 2020.

  • Harrow residents are battling to stop the infamous posho public school from closing a footpath used by parents and pupils at a state primary nearby.

Harrow School will shut off a footpath on its grounds that provides quick and easy access to Roxeth Primary. Parents and pupils at Roxeth, as well as the wider public, have used the path for many years. The school says the area is private property.


Thames water pumps sewage into Thames

Thames Water is being investigated after more than two billion litres of raw sewage was discharged into the river over a period of two days.

Mogden wastewater treatment works, in Isleworth in west London, released the equivalent of 400 Olympic swimming pools of untreated waste into the Thames on 3 and 4 October 2020.

This is in comparison to half a billion litres of waste from the site spilled into the river in the whole of 2016. 

Last month’s Water Quality and Rivers Report showed the amount of raw sewage leaking into the Thames has soared in recent years.

Around 3.5 billion litres of raw sewage contaminated the river in 2020—meaning two-thirds of this resulted from the two-day spillage.

Thames Water was fined £4 million last May after it allowed nearly 80 million litres of sewage to flood a public park.


Spy cops inflitration wrecks anti-racist group

A Black Lives Matter group in south Wales has closed down after revelations that a covert police unit attempted to recruit one of its members to be an informant.

The Swansea BLM group said it had decided to dissolve itself for a number of reasons, including the attempted recruitment by the police.

Lowri Davies, one of the group’s main organisers, exposed a covert police operation to persuade her to become an informant last year by secretly recording the approach. It was the first public evidence that the police have sought to enlist a mole within the Black Lives Matter movement in Britain.

Last week Davies said the attempt by South Wales police to recruit her had had “a massive impact” on the group, leading to members drifting away.


Coffee profits rise fast 

Coffee giant Starbucks Starbucks last week reported a 31 percent increase in profits during the final three months of 2021. But the massive US-based coffee chain nevertheless announced plans to further increase prices this year.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson saw his pay package soar by 39 percent to £15 million in 2021. He told investors that “supply-chain disruptions” and rising labour costs are to blame for the coming price increases.

Starbucks’ revenue grew to £6 billion at the tail-end of 2021—a 19 percent jump compared to the previous year.


Ed Davey’s consult cash in

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey was forced to apologise last week. He had failed to declare his £18,000-a-year interest in Next Energy Capital when asking parliamentary questions about alternative energy of the sort that Next invests in.

Yet, says Private Eye magazine, Davey’s far larger £60,000-a-year position as “consultant on political issues and policy analysis to [City law firm] Herbert Smith Freehills” merits little scrutiny.

This is despite him having influence on his MPs’ voting on everything from the economy and tax to public services. These are areas where Herbert Smith and its corporate clients will be very interested.

There is no sign of Davey reconsidering his double role as leading politician and private political consultant.


The things they say 

“There’s been a traditional economic view, not just on the right but generally on the right, which says that the market will find its own level. But actually all our experience is that that is not the case”

Michael Gove, Communities secretary

“By paying a massive cheque to avoid a showdown in court, he’s confirmed himself to be a snivelling little coward whose denials and demands weren’t worth the paper they were written on.”

Piers Morgan on Prince Andrew settling his abuse case. He will be very upset when he finds out how much the Mirror group has paid out to settle phone hacking cases from when he edited their newspapers

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