The Guardian view on a just transition: make the red wall green | Editorial

Britain’s commitment to a net zero carbon footprint by 2050 can be the catalyst for a jobs revolution in regions beyond London and the south-east. The government is doing far too little to make it happen

As Britain confronts the unemployment crisis that will blight so many lives this winter, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has promised to be “creative” in introducing new measures to support jobs. Mr Sunak still seems stubbornly determined to end, next month, the furlough scheme that remains a lifeline for so many workers. But the misery that will ensue appears to have persuaded him that some kind of alternatives must be found. Inevitably they will be cheaper and less effective, but when the criticism comes, Mr Sunak will protest that it is not the government’s role to indefinitely prop up businesses that the pandemic has consigned to the past.

What about propping up the future then? The government’s failure to develop any kind of plan to meet legally binding net zero targets has flown under the radar in recent months, as coronavirus-related chaos reigns in Whitehall. With the exception of a minimalist £2bn “green homes” grant, some new cycle routes and other minor measures, Boris Johnson’s promise to “build back better” has so far proved to be of purely alliterative value.

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