Who's promising the high-tech jobs after the election?

Find out what the parties say they'll offer the high-tech economy - and where the jobs will be - if they get elected

The top three

Labour

The incumbent administration seeks to build a high-tech economy, supporting business and industry, to create an additional one million skilled jobs. 

Its big business plan, Create UK Finance for Growth, will bring £4bn together to provide capital for growing businesses and to invest in growth sectors. 

Labour’s new industrial policy pledges to support industries where the UK has key technological strengths, including advanced manufacturing, low carbon, life sciences and the creative and digital industries to create more jobs. 

It also wants to modernise infrastructures, rebuild the industrial base and is committed to high-speed rail, all of which should spell good news for engineering jobs. 

The party is developing a clean energy system to reduce the country's dependence on imported oil and gas and is aiming for around 40 per cent of the nation’s electricity to come from low carbon sources by 2020. 

The green economy will create jobs and businesses in Britain in the manufacture and installation of low-carbon and other environmental technologies.

 It also intends commissioning a new generation of nuclear power stations and a programme of four ‘clean’ coal plants with carbon capture and storage technology which is predicted to generate significant numbers of new engineering jobs.

Conservative

The Tories desire to make Britain a European hub for hi-tech digital and creative industries, underpinned by a superfast broadband network throughout the UK which ‘could’, suggests the party, generate up to 600,000 additional jobs. 

There’s plenty of emphasis on how the party wants the country to lead in areas such as science, technology and innovation although the manifesto is less specific on how this converts into numbers job-wise. 

Another aim is to make Britain the world’s first low-carbon economy and the manifesto states it will encourage private sector investment to put the country at the forefront of the green technology revolution, creating create jobs and new business. No figures are detailed. 

On the innovation front, it intends implementing key recommendations from Sir James Dyson’s review into how to make Britain a hi-tech exporter. This includes establishing joint university/business research and development institutes, and a multi-year science and research budget to provide a stable climate for research. 

The Tories are against airport expansion, but claim the same commitment to support high-speed rail as Labour albeit under a different arrangement - which must spell good news for job creation, particularly in technology and engineering.

Liberal Democrats

The pursuit of 100 per cent clean energy for the UK by 2050 is a key goal for the Lib Dems, specifying ‘no nuclear’ but including coal only if it meets ‘the highest standards’. 

The party wants to ensure that by then three-quarters of its renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources. 

In the shorter term it has set an interim target for 40 per cent of UK electricity to come from clean non-carbon-emitting sources by 2020. Details of how such a transition could translate into jobs are noticeably in short supply compared to Green Party claims (see below), but must signal good news for those on the clean energy technology career path. 

The Lib Dems have also pledged to set out a clear ‘renewables routemap’ leading to the mid-century, covering grid access and investment in electricity networks, so more specifics might emerge if they gain power. 

Other green initiatives that will certainly lead to jobs include a £140m bus scrappage scheme that helps bus companies replace old polluting buses with new low carbon ones.

 

Some alternative voices

The Green Party

At the heart of the party’s ‘ground breaking proposal’ to tackle the three crises of economic collapse, inequality and climate change is the Green New Deal, which is all about ‘investing massively’ to create new jobs and move towards a sustainable, zero-carbon economy. The transition will create hundred of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, design, building and engineering. 

The Greens also claim that an energy efficiency increase of just one percent a year, sustained over a 10-year period, would lead to 200,000 additional jobs. 

Government investment of as much as £20bn over the life of a parliament in large-scale wind and other renewable generation, as well as in the national grid, would also create a further 80,000 jobs in installation and equipment, the party claims. 

Its manifesto also offers a breakdown of energy source jobs per annum, per terawatt hour: wind: 918-2,400; coal: 370; gas and oil: 250-265; nuclear: 75. Nuclear power, it says, would be phased out and it ‘resolutely’ opposes any new nuclear power stations - so don’t count on a career in new nuclear plants if the Greens get in.

UK Independence Party (UKIP)

According to manifesto highlights picked out on its website, the party claims it would create one million new skilled jobs with public and private investment in what it describes as a five-point public works programme. 

This would include provision of defence equipment, nuclear power stations, flood and coastal protection and transport infrastructure that will include high-speed rail lines - so huge scope there for engineers and technologists. 

UKIP also identifies seven major benefits of its plans to expand manufacturing, among them are that after ten years, it reckons this will have generated 650,000 manufacturing jobs and a supplementary 650,000 jobs in utilities, materials supply and other services. A further breakdown of these figures arrive at 70,000 additional qualified scientific and engineers’ jobs and around 130,000 skilled technician jobs.

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