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82% of voters believe green industrial growth is essential to Britain’s economy

A UK-wide poll of 5,149 people, conducted between during September shows that a considerable proportion of  UK voters – 82% – believe that Britain’s economy is dependent of the growth of green industries. 

The poll, which was commissioned by RenewableUK and conducted by Opinium, found that this percentage is even higher – 88% – among respondents who voted Tory at the last election but intend to vote Labour at the next.

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Of the five priority sectors for economy set out by the Chancellor (Digital Technology, Green Industries, Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing and Creative Industries) over a third of people -36% – identified green industries as the one most likely to encourage growth in the UK economy. 

The other four sectors scored between 4% and 16%.

Furthermore, 75% said they would see any failure to secure investment in renewable energy and factories to manufacture green tech such as wind turbine components as a missed opportunity for the UK. Again, this increases to 83% for Conservative to Labour swing voters.

Investment in renewable energy is supported by 71% of respondents, but only 40% of them believe the Conservatives have even partially delivered on this.

32% (45% of Conservative to Labour swing voters) think the Tories have become less proactive in securing investment in green industries under Rishi Sunak, with over three quarters of them less likely to support the Conservative Party as a result.

Similarly, a significant proportion of voters (31%) believe the Conservative Party have been less focused on unlocking investment in renewable energy than on oil and gas in the last six months, and most of these voters (67%) have a less favourable view of the Conservatives as a result. Again, this perception is more widely held amongst Conservative to Labour swing voters, 45% of which believe the Conservative Party have been more focused on oil and gas than renewables in the last six months, with 77% of them having a less favourable view of the party as a result.

RenewableUK’s Director of Strategic Communications Nathan Bennett said: ‘This new polling demonstrates very clearly that people see the success of green industries as vital to the UK’s economic growth. New green industries like offshore wind are bringing tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds of investment to communities across the UK, as well as low cost clean power.

‘Although we welcome the Prime Minister re-iterating his support for green industries in his net zero speech, this has to be backed up with tangible measures to make the UK more attractive market for green investment or we will see factories and jobs which could have been in the UK go overseas. This polling shows not only that there is a wealth of public support for new incentives to secure renewable energy projects and manufacturing, but that people be would disappointed if we fail to secure these investments.

‘It would seem that the Government’s failure to secure new offshore wind projects in this year’s clean power auctions and their lack of a response to the measures being offered to the USA and the EU to attract investment in renewables have been noticed by a significant proportion of the public, who now think Ministers have been less focused on securing renewable energy investment under Rishi Sunak. It’s not too late for the Prime Minister to restore market confidence and the UK’s leadership in offshore wind, but the Government is clearly going to have to bring forward new measures to achieve this”.

The Conservative MP Sir Alok Sharma, President of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021 said: ‘The Prime Minister’s recent call for the UK to embrace the incredible opportunities of green industry with even greater enthusiasm is clearly backed by people across the country.

‘However, attracting inwards green investment does require further action and I therefore look forward to the Government’s promised response in the Autumn Statement to the US’s Inflation Reduction Act which is hoovering up many billions of pounds of private sector investment and causing some companies to think about prioritising expanding in the US ahead of the UK.’

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