East Anglia: Regional CBI chief backs the case for ‘green growth’

THE East of England’s economy is a “classic example” of why the Government should accept it does not have to choose between going green and going for growth, according to the regional head of a leading employers’ organisation.

Richard Tunnicliffe, director of the CBI in the East of England, echoed the views of the body’s director general, John Cridland, who told a national audience that businesses were increasingly hearing that politicians were for “one or the other”.

“In reality, with the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth,” said Mr Tunnicliffe following the launch of the new CBI report, The colour of growth: maximising the potential of green business.

“I agree with John Cridland’s call on politicians to adopt a smarter, more consistent approach to energy and climate change policy. In our region especially it would make a real difference.”

The CBI says that its research shows the UK has the ability to become a global front-runner in low carbon products and services, but warns that the Government needs to take the right action to realise this potential and avoid damaging competitiveness.

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“With something like a third of all our growth accounted for by green business last year, the UK could be a global front-runner in the shift to low-carbon,” said Mr Tunnicliffe. “In the search for growth, we’re digging for goldmines – and one of them is green.

“Here in the East of England we are home to some of the most successful and forward thinking green businesses that are thriving and despite the challenging economic environment are making that real difference.”

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The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has developed Green Economy “manifesto” as a blueprint for low carbon business success for the whole of the UK, based on what is happening in the East.

“We have a great deal to shout about in the East of England,” added Mr Tunnicliffe. “From our world-leading low green research in Cambridge in the West of our region to the Energy Coast in the East, we are showing people, including politicians that there does not have to be a choice between green and growth. The two can, must and do go together.”

The new CBI report shows that the UK grew its share of the �3.3trillion global green market by 2.3% in real terms in 2010/11, reaching �122billion and accounting for around 8% of GDP, and CBI analysis suggests that green business may have accounted for over a third of all UK growth in 2011/12.

Across every sector and region, green business activity now employs around 940,000 people in the UK, with two thirds of these jobs located outside London and the South East.

Green goods and services are also a strong contributor to UK trade, and the biggest links are to fast-growing economies like China, which buys 7% of UK green exports.

By the end of this Parliament the contribution from green business could potentially cut the UK’s trade deficit by half, the CBI says.

Investing in a balanced mix of low-carbon energy sources should also help to ensure the UK’s long-term energy security and affordability by reducing exposure to global energy price rises and fluctuations.

At the launch of the report, CBI director general John Cridland said: “The UK has made a great start tapping into green economic opportunities but mixed signals from the Government are setting the UK back.

“If we can’t be sure that the policies of today will still be the policies of tomorrow, we simply won’t build business and consumer confidence or secure the investment we need.”

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