The UK’s green recovery is well below its European counterparts


New research by experts from the University of Manchester has identified significant gaps in the UK’s green recovery relative to France and Germany and called on the government to adopt a clear post-pandemic strategy.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Productivity Institute, a UK research organization funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and based at the University of Manchester. They reviewed each country’s outlook and impact on productivity, competitiveness and the environment.

Analyzing the data from the recovery package that came out in 2020, he found:

  • Using green stimulus budgets to gauge ambition, France and Germany have made available a lot of funding and invested strategically through integrated stimulus packages. France has committed 30.4 billion euros (1.25% of 2019 GDP); Germany € 27.5 billion (0.80% of 2019 GDP); Compared to British investments of 17.3 billion euros (0.69% of GDP in 2019).
  • The three countries have devoted most of their green recovery funding to four areas and technologies: hydrogen, electric vehicles, energy modernization of buildings and rail infrastructure. By devoting the largest share (57.8%) to hydrogen and electric vehicles, Germany took advantage of the green recovery to accelerate long-term economic and green potential sectors. In comparison, France and the UK have used green incentives to deliver short-term economic and environmental benefits to support employment.
  • The UK’s inability to develop multi-year pre-COVID-19 projects – and the subsequent poor implementation of key policies – have impacted jobs, the economy and the environment. Taking the Green Homes Grant launched in 2020 as an example, research has shown how implementation issues quickly derailed early UK policies. By comparison, Germany has invested the energy recovery budget for buildings in a well-established 14-year programme. Similarly, France has built upon already existing administrative experience and recognition by funding a combination of new and existing programmes.
  • Germany’s support for sectors with long-term productivity potential is made possible by its COVID-19 resilient economy. However, France and the UK’s focus on short-term gains is driven by political motivations: the French presidential election in 2022 and the need for the UK to show a quick victory after Brexit and before COP26 in November 2021.

The project was led by a team of experts based at the Manchester Business School Alliance: Professor Frank W. Giles, Professor of Systems Innovation and Sustainability and one of the world’s most cited academics; Professor Jonathan Pinksay, Professor of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research; and Guillermo Ivan Pereira, postdoctoral associate researcher in sustainable energy innovation.

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“While the UK had good intentions compared to France and Germany, it lacked ambition and smooth and clear delivery,” said Professor Pinksay. “Britain’s green recovery would benefit from a clear pandemic strategy to add to and expand on what has been proposed so far. Although there is a strong focus on hydrogen, the UK does not yet have a national hydrogen strategy (unlike Germany and France) – we expect to see this soon. in 2021. “

“The way each country decided to balance choices was shaped by its pre-pandemic trajectory on climate and economic progress and priorities for the future,” said Dr. Perera said. “Germany’s support for sectors with long-term productivity potential focuses more on gaining competitive advantage in new sectors and by an economy made more resilient to short-term economic shocks. Period. The focus on short-term gains by France and the UK is the most Clearly politically motivated.”

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