Liam Byrne, Labour’s Shadow Mayor for the West Midlands, has, ahead of today’s virtual Climate Lobby of Parliament, challenged the Conservative Government and our region’s Tory Mayor to go quicker and further in tackling climate change while developing new green manufacturing jobs to deal with the looming mass unemployment that could happen as we leave the coronavirus lockdown.


Liam said, “I want the West Midlands to be the first net zero-carbon region in the Country. We’re at cross-roads and by acting now to reduce our carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030 we can tackle Climate Change and creating new high-skilled, well-paid jobs. The decision by our Tory Mayor to wait until 2041 means we miss out on those new jobs and the much needed actions to protect our environment.”


Byrne pointed to new Bank of England forecasts which show that unemployment in the West Midlands could more than double well into next year, up to 324,000. The last time the region saw unemployment that high was back in 1986.


Liam added, “By thinking cleverly and acting quickly we can build back better, we can prevent mass-unemployment and horrors that go with it and protect our planet at the same time. It also has the ”


Ed Miliband MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy speaking to Liam Byrne as part of a discussion hosted by SERA, Labour’s Environmental Campaign, and Labour Business said: “We are at a critical juncture when it comes to the environment and the economy. A green recovery makes sense from every point of view. It gets money spent quickly to create jobs and helps meet our international obligations. People have been through so much and lost so much because of this public health crisis and people don’t want to go back to how things were. They want cleaner air and a better environment, and we need to secure jobs in our manufacturing base and this is possible now, but only if the Government acts quickly.”


The Tory Mayor for the West Midlands has committed to net-zero by 2041 but a number of his plans to reduce carbon emissions are dependent on improvements to transport infrastructure but many of these have yet to be fully funded by the Mayor or the Government.






Liam Byrne’s Green New Deal for the West Midlands can be read at



Unemployment Scenarios


Bank of England

UK Labour Force

UK Labour Force

Forecast Unemployment Rate


1. Forecast UK Unemployment in 2021


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Potential rise