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The UK must invest in green tech to 'future-proof’ its economy, Badenoch says

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International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has stressed the important role of green technologies in creating high-paying skilled jobs while providing a route to future energy security.

The UK must “future-proof” its economy by investing in cutting-edge green technologies, International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has said.

In a speech to the Green Trade and Investment Expo in Gateshead, Badenoch highlighted the UK’s success over the past two years in securing almost £20bn in green inward investment, creating over 11,000 new jobs.

During the event, Badenoch showcased figures that reportedly show the positive economic impact of investments in clean and sustainable energy. According to government figures, total foreign investment has created nearly 85,000 new jobs for people across the UK in 2021-2022 alone, and the government is expecting £100bn in private sector investment to support nearly 500,000 new jobs by 2030.

“We know trade and investment grows our economy, creates jobs and puts money in people’s pockets – but it also has the power to tackle the challenges we see around the world," Badenoch said in a statement ahead of her address. 

“Now is the time to future-proof our economy by investing in cutting-edge green technology, protecting our long-term energy security and creating thousands of jobs in industries of the future.

“I am committed to continuing to bang the trading drum for Britain to boost economic growth and level up the UK for generations to come.”

In her keynote speech, Badenoch stressed the key focuses of the UK's green trade approach: growing and innovating industries to combat climate change, protecting the country's energy security and creating high-paying jobs in "industries of the future". 

During the event, the government also confirmed the allocation of a £26m finance package for the Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus, to support the export of zero-emission buses around the world.

Joerg Hofmann, CEO at Wrightbus, said: "At Wrightbus, we are entering the next stage of our ambitious growth plan, significantly growing our export volume from our UK base and becoming one of the leading battery electric and hydrogen bus manufacturers in Europe. UKEF’s support will strongly help us on our future global growth path.

In addition, Flogas also confirmed a £50m investment to upgrade the Avonmouth terminal to store liquid petroleum gas and to handle renewable biogas and hydrogen, opening up a potential global supply of renewable fuels to the UK.

"The £100m investment into the Avonmouth LNG Terminal and pipeline near Bristol will link the UK to an unparalleled supply of off-grid gas, providing security and affordability for off-grid homes and businesses across the UK," said Ivan Trevor, managing director, Flogas Britain Ltd. 

However, Badenoch's call comes amid warnings that the UK battery start-up, Britishvolt, which had been developing a £3.8bn gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland, is facing potential administration, putting almost 300 jobs at risk.

Ahead of the event, minister of state for climate change Graham Stuart has said: "The UK is number one in Europe for renewable investment opportunities, with the highest offshore wind capacity, one of the largest potential CO2 storage bases, and a fast-emerging centre of excellence for hydrogen propulsion and EV batteries.

"The deals struck here in Gateshead will not just bolster our country’s green transition and energy security, but will grow the UK’s economy – supporting livelihoods and helping in our fight against climate change."

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