The collapse of Modec, the electric van manufacturer, shows how David Cameron's green economy is withering.
Things aren’t going too well for the Prime Minister’s boast of leading “the greenest government ever”, giving us, as he said last year, “a real opportunity to drive the green economy, green jobs, green growth”. In 2007, Mr Cameron made a big play of opening a factory in Coventry to build electric-powered vans. Last week, after making only 400 vehicles in four years, the firm, Modec, sacked half its workforce and went into administration with debts of £40 million.
Meanwhile, in Australia, ridicule greeted a radio interview with Jill Duggan, a senior British official with the European Commission, who is playing a key role in the EU’s bid to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. Taken aback at being faced by two well-informed sceptics, she admitted she had no idea how many hundreds of billions of euros this would cost, or how much it could hope to achieve by way of reducing global temperatures. Nevertheless she claimed that “tackling climate change” has created “over a million new jobs” in Europe, including “many hundreds of thousands in the UK”.
Citing a new study which estimates that diverting £330 million into renewable energy destroyed 3.7 British jobs last year for every one created, the interviewers suggested that, with an unemployment rate of 10 per cent, there didn’t seem to be much Europe could teach Australia.