The creation of a ‘clean energy hub’ at Moorside in Cumbria could mean a post-pandemic 25,000 jobs bonanza across the north west, Unite said today (Tuesday June 30).
Unite has joined with 16 major companies and other unions to promote the Moorside Clean Energy Consortium which proposes a package of nuclear projects, including a new power station.
Unite hopes that this initiative will kick-start the construction of Moorside nuclear power station, stalled since Toshiba withdrew from the project in November 2018.
Unite hopes that this plan, co-authored by industry and trade union prompts business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) secretary Alok Sharma to give a copper-bottomed commitment to ‘new nuclear’ as part of the government’s much-vaunted ‘levelling up’ strategy.
“The launch of this initiative is to be warmly welcomed,” commented Unite regional secretary for the north-west Ritchie James.
“The north-west region is reeling from the adverse economic impact of Covid-19 with thousands of jobs across all sectors under severe threat as the furlough scheme tapers off,” he continued.
“The fact that this consortium is looking beyond tomorrow and into a low carbon future is good news, given that there could be a post-pandemic 25,000 jobs bonanza across the region if this takes off.
“When Toshiba withdrew from the Moorside site, after well-publicised financial problems in 2018, this was a blow to the economic future of Cumbria – we hope the consortium, to which Unite has signed up to, will kick-start a decision from government,” James added.
“Business secretary Alok Sharma needs to provide the financial support and political clout for ‘new nuclear’ as part of the much-heralded ‘levelling up’ strategy that has been repeatedly promised by Boris Johnson,” said Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said.
“Now is the time for the rhetoric to translate into reality.
“We continue to urge the government to articulate its long-term commitment to a new era for nuclear power where it plays a vital role in the energy ‘mix’ – without this commitment, it is difficult to see how the UK can meet its ‘net zero’ pledge by 2050,” added Cartmail.
By Shaun Noble