The creation of 50,000 new jobs over the next decade would help Northern Ireland move towards a sustainable and green economy, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.
The call comes as the party launches its Alliance Green New Deal, a major policy document designed to tackle not only the climate emergency but a range of issues to help bring an economic and social transformation for Northern Ireland as we seek to recover from COVID-19.
As well as the creation of 50,000 inclusive and green jobs, the document sets out pathways to a universal, affordable childcare system, retrofitting all social housing and grants to retrofit private homes with energy efficiency measures, creating zero carbon public transport, having interest-free loans for electric vehicles, and assisting farmers who seek to transition to sustainable farming.
In addition, it outlines the need for more legislation for workers’ rights in the gig economy and enhanced use of citizens’ assemblies, aiming to put social equity at the centre of decision-making.
“As we emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will face a very difficult economic landscape, which additionally has still to face the worst impacts of Brexit,” said Mrs Long.
“We need a clear, integrated plan which addresses social and economic recovery, as well as the climate emergency. The Alliance Green New Deal is that – a vision for an urgent and radical overhaul of the policies and practices which have hindered our progress to date.
“While everyday life has often felt at a standstill over the past year, climate change has continued to accelerate. A regionally balanced green economy can help us make our contribution to tackling that and could create 50,000 new jobs for Northern Ireland, in areas such as manufacturing green technologies, installation and upgrade of infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging points, rail network expansion, afforestation and creation of renewable energy infrastructure.
“The recovery also requires more than just environmental interventions. We need urgent and radical changes to the structure of our economy, based on long-term security and shared prosperity. Moves such as the roll-out of advanced broadband, increased tourism opportunities, and the delivery of new skills and social enterprise strategies are needed to underpin the green economy, benefiting all of us and future generations in the long-term and ensuring the recovery is fair and inclusive.”