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10,000 construction jobs at risk over green tax cuts, industry warns

The UK’s biggest firms have warned that more than 10,000 construction and insulation jobs are at risk if the government cuts green taxes on energy bills.

The UK Green Building Council said job losses could be seen as soon as Christmas 2013 if the government rolls back green levies.

Subsidies currently under the spotlight include the Energy Companies Obligation, which was introduced in January 2013 to reduce the UK’s energy consumption and support people living in fuel poverty.

It was set to run until March 2015 and to work alongside the Green Deal as a financial incentive for people wanting to make energy improvements to their homes.

But fears were sparked after the prime minister signalled a desire to “roll back” the regulation and and other green charges in the face of rising energy bills.

According to the Association of the Conservation of Energy, up to 33,000 people are currently employed delivering ECO and the Green Deal, which should rise to 60,000 jobs in 2015.

Willmott Dixon managing director Rob Lambe said his company invested heavily in establishing a business response to the initiatives.

He added: “Over the next year we anticipated employing more than 400 tradesmen installing insulation to solid-walled properties.

“But if ECO funding is cut, this work will simply come to a grinding halt and these jobs will be lost, with thousands more at risk in the wider industry.”

Gentoo director Sally Hancox said the industry was in an “extremely serious” position and called for “urgent action”.

She added: “We believe that the coalition’s brave, strong initial commitment to ECO remains right. The large-scale installation of green measures actively stimulates economic activity, creates jobs and addresses the growing issue of fuel poverty.”

In October, Construction News spoke to major contractors over ECO concerns, who signed a letter to the prime minister urging him not to scrap green levies.

The chancellor is expected to make an announcement on environmental taxes in next month’s autumn statement.

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