Thousands of new jobs could be created to replace all those lost in Sheffield due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to campaigners who rallied outside Sheffield Town Hall on Saturday.
The activists from Green New Deal UK South Yorkshire said more than 10,000 jobs could be created in the next two years for the city if the government was to invest in green jobs. They currently estimate 6,000 jobs will have been lost because of the pandemic.
According to the group, 66,000 new jobs could also be generated across South Yorkshire over the next ten years.
Ruth Powell, one of the organisers, said: “What we want is for the government to invest as part of their Covid-19 recovery plan in green jobs, which are well paid, secure jobs. We’ve just seen what’s happened with John Lewis, all those jobs gone, so today is about making people aware and asking people what they want to see for our future.”
She explained that green jobs are those which look after the planet and those which benefit society, like teaching, protecting green spaces, or retro-fitting homes to reduce carbon emissions.
In a performance, a diverse group of campaigners, including a student, a healthcare worker and a food grower, shared their reasons for supporting Green New Deal. They also hung a washing line on the front of Sheffield Town Hall and invited the public to share the type of jobs they would like to see.
The action is part of a nationwide campaign, calling on the government to invest £68 billion to create 1.2 million new green jobs across the UK.
“It won’t be cheap, but it will be an investment in our long-term future,” Ms Powell said.
She also added that the action was vital because of the climate crisis.
“We’ve seen the effects of it in the last few years, with the increased flooding in the South Yorkshire region and the air pollution in Sheffield – there’s a spot down by the train station that’s got the second worst air pollution rate in the country.
“We need action now.”