Green Jobs? Ask 900 Tata steel workers

Mr. Tata

The government has launched its new energy policy, which is expected to push up domestic electricity bills by £170 a year.  And the redoubtable Tim Yeo MP rushes to assure us that this is “a price worth paying”.    But 900 workers at Tata Steel may disagree with him.  They just lost their jobs.

It’s no coincidence that the Tata job losses were announced on the same day as the government’s new energy policy, an unhappy hybrid cobbled together between Tories and insanely green Lib-Dems.  Tata have quite explicitly blamed UK energy prices for the job cuts.

I’ve been saying for some time that our energy policies are driving energy-intensive businesses out of the UK (and out of the EU) altogether, taking their investment and their jobs with them.   I’ve quoted academic research from several countries showing that each “green job” created costs two, or three, or four jobs in the real economy, by restricting growth, reducing investment and encouraging “carbon leakage” and off-shoring. https://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/green-jobs-no-green-unemployment/  It gives me little satisfaction to say “I told you so”, but now we see it happening, and those 900 Tata workers are on the sharp end.

Of course they’re just the tip of the iceberg.  There are thousands more across the country — including those who are unconscious victims, the people who would have found jobs but for our green policies.

I have no quarrel with Tata.  They have simply made a rational economic decision in the circumstances which the government, despite warnings from many sides, has offered them.  I have a huge admiration for the fine job which Tata have done with Jaguar.  But we can’t expect multinationals to keep jobs in Britain as an act of charity or social welfare.  We must compete or die, and we can’t compete without affordable energy.  When I Tweeted the Tata jobs news recently, someone replied “That’s because they’re foreign, and don’t care about British jobs”.   Nonsense.  They’ve simply made a rational decision, and they’re looking for a competitive environment.  If we don’t offer it, they and many others will go elsewhere.

The bitter irony of Tim Yeo’s green policies is that they fail to deliver even in their own terms.  Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the counter-intuitive point that “renewables” fail to deliver significant emissions savings, because the huge inefficiencies of running gas back-up intermittently to support wind largely off-set the savings which the wind farms were supposed to make.  Wind turbines don’t reduce either emissions or gas consumption. 

But they do deliver one thing: vastly increased costs.  The investment needed for wind plus gas back-up is getting on for ten times the investment you’d need for gas alone.  And it saves neither gas nor emissions.  It is simply unaffordable.  If we were setting out to bankrupt our country, we couldn’t do so more effectively than with the energy policies we’ve adopted.  If I could give one single message to Ed Davey, it would be this: Renewables are simply not sustainable.   They will mortgage our children and pauperise our grandchildren.

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6 Responses to Green Jobs? Ask 900 Tata steel workers

  1. Unemployed Steelworker says:

    “Tata have quite explicitly blamed UK energy prices for the job cuts.”
    but however, those who don’t have a subscription to the “FT” cannot
    read the story linked to, because there is a “paywall”.

    Sure it is more sensible to link to a “newspaper” which does
    not impose such restrictions, like “South Wales Evening Post”
    for instance, though in that story they are blaming “the Government”.
    http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Tata-Steel-jobs-axe-devastating-Port-Talbot/story-17411656-detail/story.html

    • I am aware of the FT problem — but there’s not much I can do about it. I quoted the FT story because it is, indeed, quite explicit in blaming energy prices, rather than general government pollicvies, for the job cuts.

  2. neilfutureboy says:

    The Versos report some time ago was quite clear on the subject. For every “green” job created 3.7 jobs in the productive economy are destroyed. This is no surprise since, as Adam Smith expleaine long ago, if you shift productive resources into non-productive uses you are bound to reduce productivity.

    Thus any politician who says their, or their party wish to create (50,000 or any other number) of jobs without also stating that it is their, or their paqrty’s specific deliberate intent to make (135,000 or proportionate number) of people, net, unemploted, is, by definition, a wholly corrupt parasite. Yhay seems to include almost every politician in the LabConDemGreen party.

  3. I had not connected Tata with Greenies.
    Well noticed! Notice also that the BBC didn’t make the connection either and allowed government spokesmen to hold forth about fuel prices actually being reduced as the costs go up. The general idea, I suppose, is that the “renewables” depend on free air, water and so on. What utter rubbish!

    • The outrageous government spin is to claim that while energy costs per unit or KwH will go up, efficiency measures will reduce consumption and offset the increase. But it just won’t work, and it’s deliberate obfuscation. The issue is energy prices. Of course efficiency is a good thing, but it’s a different thing, and they shouldn’t muddy the water.

  4. They will use every opportunity to “muddy the water”, because when it becomes clear to everyone that the turbines are nothing more than a political scam designed to make politicians look like they are doing something to improve our environment, and when the truth is out about the outrageous costs of this so called “green energy” as opposed to the miniscule (if any at all) benefit, the whole charade will come crashing down . And after all, politicians were doing this to ensure that they would have jobs after the next election, exposing the truth about this is the last thing they want to see happen. Preserving the countryside, or the health of the people and animals in it, is the last of their concerns, how many voters could they possibly alienate when they are spread out as they are in the rural areas. The prices they are charging for energy will soon drive people back to burning wood to keep warm and lighting candles to see at night. We are regressing with these outrageous energy policies. When will they stop the insanity?

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