Poll: Brits back green investment, £28bn and Government battery factory support

53% support Government’s £500m package for Jaguar Land Rover to build battery factory in UK, only 27% oppose

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By George Smeeton


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New polling from Opinium for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that renewable energy and clean technology is seen as the sector most likely to create long-term growth for the UK economy with 47% of UK adults selecting it followed by 32% for manufacturing and 26% for financial services. [1]

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The poll also found that 45% of people support Labour’s plan to invest £28bn a year into the UK’s net zero climate target to fund projects including renewable energy, electric vehicle manufacture and insulating homes, whilst 32% objected.

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The Government is currently seeking to ensure Jaguar Land Rover builds a battery factory to support electric car manufacture in the UK, rather than investing in a factory in Spain. 53% of those polled back the £500million package that the Government has offered, with 27% opposing it.

The US last year unveiled its Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which provides tax cuts and other incentives to grow clean industries including renewables and EV manufacture in the US. Many companies have already decided to switch investments to the US and away from the UK as a result of the IRA policies. The UK Government is yet to publish its response to the Inflation Reduction Act but has said it will do so in the autumn.

The poll found more UK adults (48%) thought the government should seek to match the ambition of the US and China on renewable energy by supporting the UK’s own ‘home grown’ renewable energy industry than those (19%) who thought it would not be a good use of public money.

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Peter Chalkley, Director of ECIU, said: “The clouds of sluggish growth and poor productivity have hung over the UK economy for many years now. A silver lining has been the net zero economy which is worth £71billion, is more productive pound for pound and is generating jobs in ‘levelling up’ areas that have missed out on economic growth in the past like Tyneside, Teeside and Merseyside.

“The global race towards net zero is now hotting up with the US and EU pushing ahead with tax cuts and incentives partly driven by a desire to get off gas given price volatility and supply instability. With the list of companies switching investments to the other side of the Atlantic growing, will the UK’s response be bold enough to stop the rot?”

Last week, analysis from ECIU found that by failing to shift the UK’s car industry to EV manufacture, given major export markets’ policies on EVs, could leave £13bn of UK car exports in jeopardy [3].

Previous ECIU research found almost 20,000 businesses currently within the net zero economy which are contributing £71 billion (3.7%) in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy [4].

The Net Zero Tracker’s annual Stocktake report found that the number of the world’s largest 2,000 companies with a net zero commitment has risen to 929 which taken together account for 65% of the 2,000’s combined annual revenue [5].

Notes to editors:

1. Polling conducted by Opinium. Sample size 2,150 UK adults between 1st - 9th June 2023.

2. Examples of companies that have announced they are switching investments from the UK to the US can be found here: https://twitter.com/gredmond76/status/1659157734179127296

3. Failure to develop electric car industry puts £13bn of UK exports in jeopardy: https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/failure-to-develop-electric-car-industry-puts-13bn-of-uk-exports-in-jeopardy

4. Mapping the net zero economy: https://eciu.net/analysis/reports/2023/mapping-the-uk-net-zero-economy

5. Net Zero Stocktake 2023: https://zerotracker.net/analysis/net-zero-stocktake-2023

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net