Sealing the 'Red Wall'
How home energy retrofits could level up the post-Covid jobs market in the UK's hardest-hit areas
The UK has been hit hard by coronavirus, with damaging and likely long-term health, social and
economic impacts. The economic shock of lockdown has wounded all sectors and all areas of the
country, and the number of self-employed and employed staff being supported by the
Government’s unparalleled schemes shows the magnitude of employment impacts.
However, some areas have suffered more than others and it is the places that are already deprived,
with less resilience, that will find it hardest to bounce back.
In its 2019 General Election manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to reduce regional disparities through its ‘levelling-up’ agenda and the Towns Fund, set up to deliver up to £25 million to 100 areas identified as vulnerable. However, coronavirus is proving to be, if anything, ‘levelling down’ in its impacts, hitting hardest employment, wealth and wellbeing in some of those areas that were targeted for ‘levelling up’.
In this Briefing we examine the regional impact of coronavirus on jobs and the economy, and cross- reference it with a regional breakdown of opportunities when investing in low-carbon economy recovery measures. This includes reducing energy waste from people’s homes (thus cutting energy bills), renewable energy and electric vehicles. We show that these sectors, particularly home energy retrofits, offer huge potential for levelling up, offsetting the specific damage done to local economies and jobs through coronavirus.