UK government launches just transition forum

Tackling climate change should be done with an eye on tackling inequalities too, the UK government has indicated.

Business minister Pat McFadden this week announced the creation of a Forum for a Just Transition. It says the new body has been created to ensure that the opportunities and challenges of moving to a low carbon economy are shared equally around the UK.

Speaking to a TUC’s ‘Beyond Crisis’ conference  Pat McFadden said “as we make this shift I believe it is important that we consider the social and opportunity side of this, that we have a fair distribution of the costs and benefits, that we talk through the employment implications and new employment opportunities and that we have a group of people committed to the success of this who point out new opportunities to government to make the most of these changes.

“That’s why I am pleased to announce that the government will proceed with the establishment of a Forum for a Just Transition. Its purpose will be to make sure we make the most of the opportunities presented by this shift and that change is carried through in a fair way.”

The first meeting of the Forum, chaired by business minister Pat McFadden and Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband, is scheduled for 10 December 2009. It will include representatives of unions, governments and industry.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the creation of the forum, first mooted by government in July, was “excellent news.”

He added: “By working together on how we create a low carbon economy, we can both create millions of new green jobs and build a better balanced economy less dependent on finance.

 “But the big changes we need will also cause pain. This is why planning the economic and social changes required for a just transition is as important as the technological and industrial issues.

 “The TUC is keen to work with government, business and consumer groups through this forum to ensure that any transition to a greener economy creates opportunities for everyone in society.”

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