THE GREEN WAGE SUBSIDY

 


This is a chapter from Bills of Health.

This link takes you to a brief account of how it would work.

Formal Proposal to Government on this


"Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness".
Thomas Carlyle

Ecologically wised-up Keynesianism
Thomas Carlyle may have been going a bit over the top in this regard, but he does serve to remind us that there was a time when work was valued highly. Such statements are liable to be dismissed as the "protestant work ethic" but such derogatory labelling is no substitute for logical argument about the urgent need to reduce the entropy in the economic/ecological situation in which we find ourselves by carrying out a considerable amount of creative and constructive work.

The great British economist John Maynard Keynes argued that it was the duty of governments to lift the economy out of recession by providing money to invest in new work on the infrastructure of the country. Now that both communism and monetarism have demonstrably failed to meet the needs of people and environment, Keynesianism is coming back into its own, but in the latter part of the 20th century, Keynesian investment must be qualified and guided by ecological wisdom. Not all work creates real wealth. Arms production is an example of work which is highly profitable for the producer, but overall, depletes the wealth of those who buy arms, and especially those who experience the end product in the flesh. The market economy needs to be guided into benign paths, both negatively, with taxes on products which are socially and environmentally harmful, and positively, by directing the Wage Subsidy to work which is beneficial to society and environment.

Enterprises to benefit from Wage Subsidy labour should be:

- Ecopositive (beneficial to the environment)
- Socially positive (beneficial to the community)
- Investment rather than simple expenditure
- Labour intensive in preference to capital intensive.

Throughout this section, the word "jobs" will be used as shorthand, while acknowledging that there is a large philosophical question over the value of paid employment as compared with non-alienated work.

Introducing the Wage Subsidy
There is no suggestion of compulsion or "Workfare" in this proposal; people will take on work (or not, as the case may be) of their own free will, just as they could under a full Citizen's Income, and no-one will be penalised in any way if they refuse work, apart from the fact that remain in statu quo.


It has been objected that this scheme, since it is not a universal benefit, is not a bona fide Citizen's Income. This is true, but only in the sense that getting on a train is not the same thing as arriving at a destination. Transition is by definition a time of confusion, when two states overlap. The turnover in unemployment means that the number of jobs supported by WS will gradually increase. It has been found on the doorstep that the approach to Citizen's Income set out in this way gains ready acceptance by the average citizen.

One of the most important advantages of this scheme is that it decreases labour costs, and it is precisely this factor that has resulted in the loss of industrial jobs to the tiger economies of the Pacific Rim: Japan, Korea, China and other countries with low wage bills. WS means that British industry (and European, since it is likely that EU standardisation rules mean the scheme will have to be implemented on a Europe-wide basis) will be able to compete on a more equal footing.

The increased economic activity generated by this scheme will pave the way in due course to implementation of full Citizen's Income. #1 in the pocket of the poor stimulates the economy seven times more powerfully than the same amount given to the rich, because the poor use the money in a way that feeds into the general economy faster, for instance in buying food or necessities. Money given to the rich tends to remain out of circulation as savings or to be exchanged for luxury items with other rich people.

In due course, as the stimulation of the economy works through to greater tax revenues, WS would be widened out to neutral service enterprises such and telephone cleaning, although arms manufacture, battery farming and road construction should never benefit from the scheme. As WS-generated wealth works through into the general economy, the scheme can be extended so that valuable enterprises which need extra support will receive subsidies for more of their workforce until all their employees are supported. m Eventually the State will be able to make the final step (which at that stage would be quite small) into the unconditional universal benefit which is the Citizens Income proper.
Constructive dialogue should be held with the Unions to work out protocols and regulations to prevent newly subsidised labour from displacing those already in employment. This should not be difficult. Before WS labour joins the workforce, an employer will notify the existing number of employees to the Department of Employment, and will not be allowed to reduce that number while taking on new WS labour. This would need an inspectorate, but the work of the inspectors would be made easier by the fact that in the event of displacement by WS labour, disgruntled displacees would be most likely to draw the inspectors' attention to their case, so that the system is self-regulating.

It should be pointed out to the Unions that much of the proposed work is new, and will therefore pose no threat to existing jobs. Integration of the scheme with a minimum wage could be achieved with ease.

Activities in the green sector often create redundancies in the ungreen sector - for instance, energy conservation will destroy work in nuclear energy production. Broadly speaking however, green work is more labour-intensive than capital-intensive, so that there will be a net gain.

Stimulating the Green Sector

The main areas to benefit will be the following:

1 energy conservation
2 renewable energy technologies
3 energy efficient goods manufacture
4 pollution control technology
5 waste minimisation
6 repair
7 recycling
8 water management
9 sustainable agriculture
10 forestry and timber use
11 countryside management
12 housing - new building and refurbishment
13 improvements to visual environment
14 public transport
15 education and training
16 counselling, caring and healing
17 community work
18 leisure and tourism
19 innovation, research and development
20 any business which passes a certain threshold in its
environmental audit.

In his paper "Growth, Employment and Environmental Policy" Professor David Pearce concluded that "the evidence available does not support the received political wisdom that more environmental regulation will be harmful to economic growth". He quotes T. Barker and R. Lewney , who set the following scenario:
* Carbon tax to attain 1990 levels of CO2 output by 2005
* Industrial pollution abatement spending quadrupled by 2000
* Intensified water clean-up policy.

The Cambridge Multisectoral Dynamic model showed a fall in unemployment of 365,000 in 2005 compared to 1990 when this scenario was run.

Pearce also quotes an OECD study which finds that "employment is stimulated by the growth of the pollution abatement sector and a slight depressing effect on productivity."
(emphasis added). These studies take a very narrow view of what is involved in greening the economy. A more comprehensive view will turn up many more work opportunities. The next section investigates these opportunities sector by sector.


Energy conservation
Our energy use has often been likened to a rich but stupid person trying to run a bath. Finding that it is filling slowly, he turns the tap on faster but fails to notice that the plug is not in the hole. Energy conservation is the equivalent of putting the plug in the hole. It is called Demand Side Management, and not unsurprisingly, has been found to be cheaper than Supply Side Management .
The Association for the Conservation of Energy has calculated that a national programme of domestic energy conservation (loft and wall insulation, draught proofing, heating controls and lighting efficiency) could create 500,000 job/years of work at a cost of 15.5 billion pounds sterling, with a payback time of 3-5 years.

Out of this research came the Energy Conservation Bill, which was passed into law in early 1995 after humble beginnings as an Early Day Motion by Plaid Cymru/Green MP Cynog Dafis, backed by a hardfought campaign spearheaded by the Green Party but involving many environmental and social concern NGO's, and gaining support from a majority of MP's of all parties. The campaign was won without any significant media coverage whatsoever. The Energy Conservation Act will require local authorities to conduct an energy survey of all properties in their area and report on ways in which `significant energy savings' could be achieved, with the financial costs and the resultant saving of CO2. There will be a statement of the council's policy for taking into account the `personal circumstances' (poverty, age, disability &c) of households surveyed. The Secretary of State must set times for reports and reviews to come back, and has indicated that he will seek a 30% reduction initially. He must assist councils with resourcing the Act, and must report back to Parliament on progress.

The Energy Conservation Bill offsets the increased cost due to the introduction of VAT on fuel to the lower paid by reducing the amount of fuel which we need to use. The cost effectiveness of the measure is increased by lower housing maintenance costs estimated at #100 - #500 per annum per dwelling due to less dampness in housing.


All new jobs have a `multiplier effect' as the new wages are spent on goods and services. Jobs created in energy efficiency have an additional `respender' effect, as money saved on energy is respent on other goods and services.
The costs per job/year have been variously estimated at between #9,000-23,000. At the lower end of that range, the job comes free of cost to the state if the worker is taken off the dole. As with all green energy measures, jobs created in the green sector will displace jobs in finite fuel industries. Tables in "Working Future" show that for every job lost, three are gained.
For the estimate here, we will take as the lower figure from `Working Future" of 36,000, and as the upper, the ACE report of 500,000 job years, which if spread over 10 years give 50,000 jobs per year.

Renewable energy technologies

The manufacture, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy technology - wind turbines, wave energy devices, biomass systems, solar heat systems, fuel cells, photovoltaic systems, auxiliary sails for commercial ships and others - will clearly become a major industry in the future, and in order to secure the UK a niche in the future market, it is vital to make a start now, reversing the Government inaction and hostility that has lost us the initiative in the development of wave and wind power.

The European Wind Energy Association have published a report, `Wind Energy in Europe - A Plan of Action'. In a personal communication, one of the authors of the report stated that they did not expect large employment gains from any programme of renewable energy, no matter how ambitions, because for each job created in renewables, a job will be lost from the fossil energy sector. He also made the point that lead times for wind energy installations are considerably less than those for fossil and nuclear stations. In addition, wind turbine systems, once in place, need remarkably little maintenance. Labour needs are limited to an attendant to keep a general eye on the site.

However, the FoE report gives a different picture, with wind power of 30TWh/y giving 6,900-13,800 jobs, or 3,420-10,320 when displacement of coal work is accounted for. A maximum effort to harness all available onshore wind could create up to 55,000 jobs.

Germany is commencing an ambitious solar energy scheme using roof tiles with built-in photovoltaic cells which generate electricity for storage. This scheme could be developed here: no estimate has been made for the work created.

Combined heat and power, where waste heat is piped around housing estates, is estimated to provide 140,000 job-years for only five cities, or 7-12,000 jobs over 15 years, displacement corrected.


Energy efficient goods manufacture

This is certainly a green enterprise, but cannot be counted on as a means of job creation since it will simply displace jobs in inefficient manufacture. However, it merits inclusion, since if the UK persists in opting out of incoming EU energy standards, (as occurred in the matter of energy efficient domestic gas boiler manufacture) we will lose both export and domestic markets to superior EC goods. The use of energy efficient goods benefits the economy as it reduces fuel poverty as well as reducing global warming.


Pollution control technologies

Pollution control forms the core of assessments of green technology in most academic assessments carried out. A Labour Party study showed 628,000 jobs coming from higher environmental standards. Cambridge econometrics showed 200,000 jobs from a faithful application of the polluter pays principle, and 696,000 from a major investment in water quality.

Technologies for the recapture and re-use of solid, liquid, and gaseous "waste" materials exist in many forms, but in order to reach the market place they need tight forcing environmental legislation. Despite the lack of such a legislative ethos in the UK, there is has a healthy export market for British produced water pollution control equipment.

Waste minimisation

Project Catalyst was an initiative in the Wirral looking at waste in industry. The project covered 14 companies, cost #1 million, and came up with savings worth #2 million/year which would continue to accrue while the processes ran. Simply ordering the suppliers to cut rubber a door seal to the right size saved one firm #20,000 per year, and many skiploads of 6 inch rubber offcuts. This project indicates a classic case for Government investment in industrial and environmental efficiency. It will not necessarily create jobs but by increasing the prosperity of firms, could make existing jobs more secure.

A review of the initiative by the Department of Trade and Industry gave 12 examples where the numbers of employees in the firm, and the annual financial value of the saving was given. From this an index of money saved per annum per employee (PAPE) can be derived. It varied from #46 to #6,842, with an arithmetical average of #1,568. Extrapolation of this figure to the numbers employed in all industry in September 1993 (5,359,000) gives a crude estimate of annual savings of #8,402,912,000 (#8.4 billion) per year to be obtained from waste minimisation, which is, as the Prime Minister would say, a not inconsiderable sum.

Repair

If resource taxes are brought in, together with other disincentives designed to discourage the "disposable" mentality, repair of defective goods will once again become an important activity. Although this will mean some job losses in manufacturing industries, there should be a net gain since repair is more labour intensive than assembly line manufacture, due to the extra time spent dismantling the article - one estimate that 56% more labour is needed to recondition a motor car than to build from scratch.
In order to give this factor some quantitative representation, a figure of +1% to +5% of manufacturing jobs will be ascribed. Taking the 1993 of 4 million as a base gives 40,000 to 20,000.

Recycling

Recycling is commonly seen as an activity of marginal economic significance. This is erroneous. In 1983 imports of paper to the UK were worth more than the UK's entire motor car export market. Recycling of paper to an extent that would reduce these imports to zero should therefore be seen as of equal importance as the objective of doubling our exports of cars.

Kerbside collections and manual sorting (as opposed to mechanical sorting systems) are highly labour intensive operations. Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Bath and Bristol all have a variety of systems of kerbside collection for waste.

In Bath there is a weekly pickup of recyclable goods. Workers segregate the waste on the pickup vehicle. Eight people are directly employed in collecting and sorting, and they cover 14,000 households (Ratio of workers to households = 1:1750)

Cardiff, with a similar scheme, has 30 people serving 128,000 households (Ratio = 1:4264)

Although these schemes operate in cities there is no reason that they should not also operate successfully in the countryside. Recycling, segregating pickups can also be integrated into the routine waste collection.


Scaling these ratios up to cover the whole of the UK would create between 5,624 - 13,000 jobs in collection alone.
Since this is hard physical work, with an element of danger
attached to it, it would be better to choose the more labour intensive option of 13,000 jobs.

More work is needed at the depots in processing the recycled waste. Assuming 1 reprocessing job to 10 collecting jobs, this gives another 1,300 places.

More work will be created at the plant where the recycled materials are reintroduced into the manufacturing stream, but since these will displace jobs in manufacturing from virgin resources, their input will be assumed to be zero.
This crude estimate of between 6,924 and 14,300 jobs in recycling compares reasonably with the estimates quoted in Working Future of 7,200 and 8,500 jobs in recycling paper and returnable drinks containers.

Water management
The quality of drinking water supply needs improving in many ways. The first priority must be to replace lead domestic piping, especially in soft water areas, since longterm ingestion of low levels of lead is known to cause lowering of intelligence in children. 70% of the piping that needs replacement lies in the curtilage of the house, so that grants for replacement must be made available for families on low income. WS support will reduce labour costs substantially for this work on higher incomes, but further direct subsidies should support the work in order to reduce the financial disincentive for this preventive health measure.
The quantity of drinking water supplies is restricted in droughts, which will become more frequent as global warming progresses. About 30% of the UK water supply is lost through leaking mains. Leaks also present the threat of contamination of the supply if mains pressure falls below the pressure of water in the surrounding soil, which may in turn be contaminated with leakage from adjoining sewers. There is therefore a case for major investment in mains renewals. It has not been possible to get an estimate for the numbers of jobs wich would be created in this programme.
Sewerage refurbishment is already in hand, forced by the advanced state of decay of Victorian sewers.
The costs of the work will be repaid by avoiding the inconvenience of the sudden appearance of large holes in the street. Sewer collapses are commonly measured in units called DDBs, one DDB being a hole large enough to swallow a double decker bus. A further health and aesthetic benefit comes from a reduction in the increase of the rat population. Rats use sewers as routes of expansionary migration, escaping upwards to new territories through cracks and gaps in the old brickwork.


New sewerage networks are required for industrial waste water management in order to end the practice of mixing industrial wastes and domestic sewage. Without this, treated sludges cannot safely and sustainably be recycled to land because of the build-up of industry-derived heavy metals and other toxins in the soil. This might create an estimated 5,000 jobs per year for 10 years.


Biodigestion is the process where organic wastes such as sewage and vegetation are acted upon by bacteria which break them down into simpler, homogenised and non toxic end products which can then be re-used. Various forms exist from the common or garden compost heap through anaerobic digestion, to a new process where a microorganism derived from horse dung effectively causes the slow oxidisation of the waste, producing heat and carbon dioxide gas.

Biodigestion is a jewel in the crown of green technologies. It can turn sewage, a foul and hazardous waste product which emits methane and ammonia, greenhouse gases both, into energy producing gas (or low grade heat) and an enhanced organic fertiliser that meshes with the needs of the organic farmer. Farm Gas plc have claimed that the energy value alone can pay back the cost for the installation in two years. Unfortunately however, due to the lack of encouragement from either subsidies or regulation, the commercial exploitation of biodigestion is languishing in the UK, in contrast to Denmark, where the proportion of sewage treated in this way is approaching 100%.

Employment opportunities in biodigestion would come in manufacturing of digesters and also in maintenance. There is also the matter of the export market, and this is a technology par excellence that could be transferred to developing countries under the Rio proposals for transfer of benign technologies. It is a pity that most of the Export Credit Guarantees which support British exports are applied to armaments rather than benign technologies like biodigestion.

Water management includes:

- Improvement of habitat of wildlife around waterways.
- Rehabilitation, commercial and leisure use of canals.
- Sea Defences

Coastal erosion is a serious problem in many sites around the UK. The emerging thinking on the subject is that things should be allowed to slide (literally), and this may be wise in many sites, given the conspicuous failure of King Canute. In some sites however, the use of wavepower barrages may be a useful and cost effective solution to beach erosion. The Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has been urged to consider that in some sites wave energy barrages might be used to defend the coast and to build up the beaches. The Lanchester barrage is known to be able to do this. The counter argument has been that erosion damage occurs during storms, and storm waves would simply sweep over wave devices. This is true, but it begs the question that if the beach were built up by the presence of the barrage, the storm energy would expend itself on the beach as it always had done, and as it does on beaches everywhere, rather on farm land, as occurs when the beach has been eroded. MAFF has not ruled the idea of using wave power in this way and agree that more research is needed. For the scheme to be developed would need more coordination between Government departments than is the case at present, and also a less hostile attitude towards wave power than has been shown hitherto by Government.

For a crude estimate of the increase in numbers available under the WS, let us assume that the National Rivers Authority establishment, which stands at present at 7,500, increases by 5-10%: i.e. 375-750.

Flood control is necessary to prevent intermittent flooding of certain vulnerable valleys. Flooding certainly causes much financial and emotional hardship to those who get flooded, and a case might be made for investing in flood prevention. However, the environmental impact of flood prevention work needs very careful and critical assessment. Left to themselves, rivers naturally flood from time to time. Confining a river between narrow banks may in some circumstances simply displace the flood further downriver, and may also alter the natural ecosystem.

Building river levees was one of the key works in the New Deal in the USA, and many of the results were not good for the environment. Nevertheless there may be a case for identifying sites where flood prevention works might be ecologically acceptable.

The job count for water pollution control has been mentioned earlier, at 696,000.


Sustainable agriculture.

Historically, employment in rural areas has been falling inexorably due to the mechanisation of agriculture. Farmers are depressed both economically and emotionally.
Richard Young, an organic farmer, identifies a slight increase in demand for labour in an organic farm in animal husbandry (reflecting better care) and in weeding organic fields, but offsets that with labour savings in spraying &c. He sees the labour requirements in wheat growing per acre as being equal for organic and chemical farmers. However he goes on to state, "It would not be that difficult to build a case showing that organic farmers use substantially more labour per unit of food".

Here is the case:-
- setaside removes 15% of land from production.
- it will cause the collapse of smaller farmers and "will concentrate power in the larger farms and lead to another cranking up of the intensification spiral...more tractors mean less [people]."
- 15% less land in production will therefore lead to more than 15% less employees.
- Organic yields are on average 26% less than intensive yields.
- The objective of setaside (reduced production in the EU to reduce the food mountains) could therefore be achieved by an increase in organic production without the loss of 15% of the workforce.

In Nick Lampkin's book `Organic Farming in Practice' there is a table from Steinmann (1983) which (coincidentally) found that in a comparison of organic farms compared with conventional partner farms the labour requirement was 15% higher for organic farms. However, he gives a number of reasons that these estimates cannot be transferred directly to the British farming scene. He concludes, "Organic farming is often associated with increased labour use".

Working Future gives a figure of 30,000 to 40,000 extra jobs as a result of a 25% conversion to organic or sustainable agriculture.

Gardening and allotment cultivation is an important part of sustainable agriculture. Gardening is one of the most efficient ways of producing food. WS could increase the availability of workers willing to cultivate the gardens of elderly people on a share cropping basis. This could benefit the diet of people in deprived areas.
Let us assume that 0.1% of 4 million unemployed, i.e. 4,000, become active full time in this form of cultivation.

Ecologically sound forestry and timber use

The Forestry Industry Yearbook 1992-1993 gives the number of people directly employed in forestry as 41,050, with approximately 540,000 employed in industries that use timber - pulp and paper manufacture, furniture, and distribution. The activity that contributes the largest amount to the employment total is harvesting. Forestry employment is predicted to rise from 41,050 to 60,000 by the year 2001, as the trees planted in the 1940's are harvested, and towards 66,000 towards 2006, although higher productivity through mechanisation might cut this latter figure back to 48,000. Let us assume that WS gives a 5-10% boost to this figure, i.e. 2,400 - 4,800.
In fact this estimate could be extremely conservative.
In Real World magazine, Autumn 1993, "Woodman Spare that tree!" Sandy Irvine advocates the "forest farm" concept of ecologically sound forestry. This involves a move away from mechanisation and chemical forestry management, and therefore away from high productivity assumptions towards high labour input .

Fine craftsmanship in timber use. An interesting and pleasing link exists between the solution to global warming and the demand for fine craftsmanship. As the perception that wood has a special value as a solidified form of carbon dioxide percolates into the public consciousness, wood will be increasingly valued as a structural material. The longer a wooden object is kept, the longer that CO2 will remain locked up. One way of ensuring that an object is kept is by subjecting it to fine craftsmanship. Therefore, woodworkers of all kinds should be favoured by the programme, with bonuses apportioned according to aesthetic quality. Let us assume that 500 - 1,000 new workers in this field result from WS encouragement.


Countryside management programmes

The DoE has published a brochure `Action for the Countryside' which provides a useful overview of the problems and policies; they point also to the Countryside Employment Programme, three pilot projects to test a new programme, primarily training, reskilling, and business advice and support.

At present, English Nature employ 846 people in an advisory capacity, the Countryside Council in Wales employs 320, the Countryside Commission 150, and the British Trust Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) 300 - 1,616 in all. The BTCV uses in excess of 84,000 volunteers on a part time basis.

Even the most casual walker can see to what extent the land created work in the past, when dry stone walls stretch for miles out into what is now empty hillside. The scope for work in clearing rubbish, laying hedges, upgrading footpaths, improving amenity and habitats is vast. Peoples' enjoyment of the countryside, and therefore the national `feelgood factor', would be enhanced as a result of these works.

In addition, Community Service labour could be to carry out heavy and arduous work that might otherwise be of marginal economic value, such as collection a proportion (some must be left to stimulate fungal growth) of fallen trees for sale as firewood.
Community Service is in any case many times more cost effective as a way of repaying the convicts debt to society than imprisonment.

Let us assume that the extra numbers of WS workers on the land would be between 1,600 (equal to the numbers in the quangos above) and 8,400 (10% of the volunteers used).

Housing

Shelter have published a paper, `Homes cost less than Homelessness' which argues that the country could save #174m p.a. by building enough houses for the homeless instead of paying for them to live in bed and breakfast, hotels and leased property. These latter options cost #11,000 to #13,000 pa per family, whereas the cost of borrowing to build a council house is #7,000 p.a. according to Shelter's accounting convention, which takes the annual cost of repaying the home loan. However, the Government insists that the full cost of paying for the home should be met in the year in which the home is built, which makes the cost of building appear prohibitively expensive. Government also ignores the fact that a home can produce an income (rent).

As well as building new houses to meet housing needs, especially in the social housing sector, there is a great deal of potential work available in the refurbishment of the existing housing stock.


Since 1989, over 500,000 construction workers have lost their jobs. Shelter's proposals for boosting the stock of by 100,000 units of social housing would generate employment for 120,000 people . They call for 1.3 billion pounds per year for 5 years (6.5 billion) to be spent in refurbishment and new building. Already #5.5 billion is held in local authority funds from the sale of council houses, so only another billion will have to be found - which would be repaid in 5.7 years from the savings in temporary accomodation of 174 million per year mentioned above. Every #1 billion invested in new housing creates 50,000 jobs, so that at least 250,000 job years will be created. This will be counted as 50,000 per year from 1997-2002.

Improvements to the visual environment

Depressed people see the world as lifeless, grey, and ugly. Conversely, a lifeless, grey, and ugly environment can only be expected to make people depressed and alienated. Both social and economic paybacks are therefore to be expected from a programme of tidying, cleaning, painting and planting in public spaces. This is already happening to a certain extent (for instance with the Thames bridges in London) but we would be seeking to bring the amenity usually reserved for areas of tourist attraction into the environment of the average citizen.

As well as the general increase in happiness and productivity, there are material gains to be had from a painting programme: wood and iron structures will benefit by a prolonging of their useful lives due to the protective effects of paint.

Oscar Wilde was quite wrong when he said that all Art is quite useless. At a rough estimate, assuming that each of 500 district councils employed about 50 people in this scheme, the net gain would be about 25,000 permanent jobs.

Expansion of public transport services

Public transport work will comfortably offset the layoffs that green policies will cause in the motor car and road construction industry. The cheaper labour brought about by WS will enable conductors and porters to return, making public transport more user-friendly and safe, since the reintroduction of conductors will reduce the fear of violence from other passengers. Pollution and journey times will also be reduced as the bus will not stand for so long while the driver collects the fares.
Foe, working from statistics in a Transport 2000 report estimated that the effects of transferring from road construction to rail, rail freight, and light railways:
jobs estimate
low high
#500 million > rail and rail freight 3,000 8,150
#400 million > light rail 3,475 7,590
Total 6,475 15,740
Transferral Labour is needed to move freight from lorries to rail. At the moment, it is the high costs of this labour which is responsible for putting so much freight on the roads. WS labour could reduce these costs, pending a longer term solution, which involves raising the height of train tunnel roofs in order to allow the trailer part of articulated lorries to be loaded onto directly onto rail trucks for long journeys. [cost/jobs Roger Higman, FoE 11 June 1995] The Channe Tunnel has made the use of rail for international freight journeys potentially far more economic, since it avoids the need for it to be transferred from rail to ferry and back again.

Cycleways, together with traffic restraint and integrated transport policies, are a necessary part of breaking the motor car habit. The cost of creating cycleways varies with the topography of the area, and to what extent the cycleway stands alone or is part of another scheme.
/----------------------------------------------------\
Cost per kilometre of cycleway: #,000s
Painted lines on quiet backstreet 1
Pavement conversion for shared use 5 - 15
Virgin Cycleway 25 - 40
\-----------------------------------------------------/
Cycleways are built to a high specification in order to last, usually by contractors who make roads. Cycleways could therefore compensate for lost opportunities in road construction, but whereas a job in roadbuilding costs about #70,000, it is estimated that two jobs could appear in cycleways for that sum.
Sustrans has a plan to build an 8,000 km cycleway in the UK over 10 years. Taking a mean figure of #30,000 per kilometre to allow for the fact that some of the work is in cities and therefore cheaper, this gives an overall cost of #240 million, and if each 35,000 creates one job, the total job count is 6,857 over the 10 years, or 690 per year.


Education and training programmes
Money put into education is an investment in the future of the nation, and this alone is enough to justify an increase in the numbers employed in education. There are 392,900 teachers in nursery, primary and secondary education in the UK. They teach at class sizes of up to and over 30:1, and the available evidence shows that the quality of education improves with smaller class sizes.

For instance Tenessee research reported in June 1995 showed that children in classes of under 15 fared better at reading and writing than those in classes of 25. Half of the extra cost was recouped from savings in remedial teaching, and the other half is expected to be recouped in increased taxes from the better-educated children.

There are 53,256 teachers in Local Education Authority Further Education Colleges, excluding those controlled by Polytechnics and Colleges of Further Education. If a programme of retraining led to a 5 - 10% increase in these positions, an additional 2,663 - 5,326 jobs in training would be created.

To reduce from class sizes of 30:1 to 20:1 would call for a 50% increase in the establishment of education nationally, or say an extra 150,000 permanent jobs.


Counselling, caring, and health work

There is evidence that these activities represent excellent investment both from a humanitarian and financial standpoint.
Counselling A report commissioned by Relate concluded that the service they provide saves the state more than #42.8 million per year through savings in legal aid, family support and other indirect costs of divorce. The cost to the state of funding Relate's services is #2.2 million, mostly paid by local authorities. Relate consider that their work in the UK could be expanded by a factor of 10.
This is clearly a very efficient use of public money.

Relate active working counsellors at present number 2,669, so 28,000 extra jobs could be added through a tenfold expansion of their services.

Parenthood counselling is likewise an excellent investment in the future. If each counsellor can sustain a caseload of 50, and 1% of Britain's households with children need counselling:
UK population 57 million
UK households @ 2.4 each 23.75 million
48% households have children, 11.4 million
1% need counselling 114,000
50 per counsellor 2,280 counsellors

Similar numbers might be required for other special groups: for adolescents, drug and alcohol problems and so on. The demand for counsellors is likely to be limited only by the ability of existing counsellors to train up new workers.

Caring for sick and ill family or neighbours is work which either goes unpaid or must go through a stringent bureaucratic procedure to qualify. WS would make this procedure much easier.

Formal caring, for instance community care of people with learning difficulties, mental illness, or for children in care, is labour intensive work. Social service group workers should have a staffing ratio of at least 1 worker to 5 service users; however, increased ratios would lead to higher quality work, and in children's homes the ration should be 1:1. The inspectorate for Nursing homes and residential homes of all kinds should also be increased, with irregular unscheduled visits to ensure that standards are maintained and that no abuses occur.

The National Health Service is the biggest single employer in the UK, standing at 211,000 in 1991. This is down from 214,000 in 1988, but roughly equivalent to the staffing levels in 1981. Overwork and personnel shortages are constant complaints from health workers in every sector. A 1% increase in care workers from WS would yield 21,400 new jobs, and a 0.1% increase would yield 2,140 jobs.

Community Work

Community workers whose aim is to catalyse the coming together of people to discover the strength that exists in working together are known to be able to benefit society. (see para 6.3.1) If it is assumed that 10% of households (2.375 million) could benefit from this kind of input, and that each worker could serve 100 households, we have a need for 23,750 community workers.

Leisure and tourism

New patterns of work and the ability of machines to take over much repetitive work means that we will all have more leisure time. Already there is growth in quantity and quality of the leisure industry. Any constructive and healthy use of leisure time should be encouraged with Wage Subsidy.

Innovation, Research and Development. Although not directly a source of mass employment, indirectly a successful programme of innovation, R & D will benefit the economy. Any shift of the economy towards truly sustainable development predicates innovation. Prior to 1994, the Department of Trade and Industry's Design Council had a Noticeboard project which assessed innovations, advised innovators on presentation of their projects and put details of successful ideas before the related sections of industry. This should be reinstated, and consideration should be given to the question of making loans to facilitate the early stages of innovation. Many innovations are lost through the lack of sums (beginning at #1,000 to 2000) required in the difficult inception period.

Environmentally and socially friendly businesses
Any company or business who passes an environmental audit to a certain standard should be able to qualify for WS support. Environmental audit should involve a survey of the business consumption of resources, its output product, its wastes and their effect and working conditions within the plant. The prospect of being able to benefit from wage subsidy would stimulate interest in minimising waste, producing useful and durable products and optimising working conditions.

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JOBS GAINED THROUGH GREENING THE ECONOMY
,000s
Estimate high low

(sorry, lost formatting here, you will have to buy or borrow the book if you want to get this clear)

Taxing resources, not jobs 150 278
Cambridge Multisectoral Dynamic model 365 365
Energy efficiency 50 36*
Wind onshore 50 18
Active solar 1 1
CHP 12.5 7.9
Pollution control 696 200
Repair 200 40
Recycling 14.3 6.9
Sewerage 5 5
Waterways 0.75 0.375
Sustainable 40 30
Gardening/allotments 4 4
Forestry, expected 48 48
Forestry, WS added 4.8 2.4
Fine wood craftsmanship 1 0.1
Countryside management 8.4 1.6
Housebuilding - 5 years @ 50 50
Painting and decorating 25 25
Transfer from road to rail 15.74 6.48
Cycle paths 0.69 0.69
Teachers 150 150
Trainers 5.33 2.66
Relate counsellors 28 28
Parental counsellors 2 2
Community workers 23.8 23.8
NHS 21.4 2.14

Ban on tobacco advertising (see Ch. 13) 1.87 1.87


HOW IS IT ALL TO BE PAID FOR?

There is no alternative
It is beyond the scope of this book to carry out the detailed quantitative projections for the wage subsidy scheme.
Between 1.1 and 1.8 million full time jobs have been identified by the method outlined above. The work is not work for its own sake, but serious and vitally necessary from the
point of view of sustainable development. In many cases, for example in housebuilding, energy conservation and
marriage guidance counselling, there is a clearly identifiable financial payback. In other cases, for instance sustainable agriculture, improvements to the visual environment and in forestry, there is an ecological payback but the financial paybacks will not be clear until an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare supplants the old, crude measure of GNP.

The effect of Wage Subsidy is that Social Security Benefit expenditure, instead of being money thrown away on a process which condemns people to exist in a state of surly and impecunious idleness, is converted into a surge of financial and human energy into the economy which, if wisely directed towards improving the ecological infrastructure of the economy, can resolve the two of the major challenges of our time: the pain of unemployment and poverty, and the threat of ecological collapse.

A simple example of what is needed exists in Beira, Mozambique. There the water table is high, so that puddles form easily. Mosquitoes breed in the water, and cause malaria which imposes a huge strain on the health services. Standing by the puddles are crowds of unemployed people, and behind them is sand. What is required is to use the unemployed to fill the puddles with sand. The authorities know this, but because their country has been bled dry by twenty years of war, they have no money to pay for the work to be done. Monetarists would say that this is as it should be: they must wait for the money to come along. Keynesians would say that the Government should borrow money to carry out the necessary work, and pay it back when times are less hard.

Some economists go further than Keynes: they point out that the money is borrowed from banks, and that the banks neither borrow to fund the loan, nor do they draw on their reserves: they lend virtual money, created from nothing.

If a person requests a loan from a bank, the bank manager assesses the financial credibility of the person. If they are of good standing, and the purpose of their loan is reasonable, the manager grants it. The only limits on the bank's ability to lend is the surety provided by
the capital sums in his banks vaults: total loans must not exceed a certain multiple of what the bank holds. When a loan has been made, it is repaid many times over by the borrower earning the money in the real world by making real (or perhaps relatively real) objects. By drawing in these real earnings, the bank's assets are increased, so that even more virtual money can be lent out in years to come.

Some economists question why this alchemical power should be delegated solely to the banks, and why it should not be exercised, with due caution and safeguards, by governments and even communities. Chief among the safeguards are that there should be a reasonable expectation of a payback, which is the case in the nineteen areas outlined above.

In short, lack of money should not stop the Beirans from filling their puddles, nor should it stop us from filling our own social and environmental puddles. Money exists to serve the real economy; the economy does not exist to serve money. If real ecopositive work needs to be done, money should be created against the surety of the physical and human resources available, and against the soundness of the plan. This money creation is not inflationary since the end result is an increase in the total value within the system. At the end of the day, it must be better to get the unemployed working on good constructive projects than paying them a semi-adequate subsistence pittance on condition that they do no work.

A balance sheet
The only accurate way to show that the Wage Subsidy will work is by running it on a computer model of the economy, which could account for the dynamic effect of the influx of work into the economy, as well as the effects of improved general morale. In the absence of the use of such a a programme, the alternative is to present a simple arithmetical to show that it is possible to balance the books.
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The Balance sheet
Cost of Wage subsidy
The gross cost of 2 million jobs created:
# billion
1.0 million will be @ #8,000 per year 8
0.5 million will be @ #12,000 per year 6
0.5 million will be @ #16,000 per year 8
----------------------------------------------------
Total #20 billion
from this figure, subtract the cost of removing 2 million from the dole at #9,000 each (#18 billion) leaves an extra 2 billion to be found. While it is true that a substantial part of the #18 billion will yet have to be paid (some administrative savings may be available), this money would have been paid out anyway, in dead end dole money, and so can be discounted in this excercise which is to meet the extra costs.
/------------------------------------------------------\
State Savings per year # million
Wages bill for 2 million new jobs (2,000)
GNP increases by 2% 12,000
Building houses 174
Counselling 360
Waste minimisation 8,403

Axe allowance on company cars 2,000

Collect unclaimed tax 5,000

Axe Trident 2,000
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Total 27,937
\-------------------------------------------------------/
Even if the #18 billion wage subsidy is included in this equation, the country is still #9,937,000,000 (nearly 10 billion pounds) per year better off.

To this equation can be added the fact that there is plenty of scope for increased borrowing in the UK. In order to restore the general level of investment in the UK to 1979 levels would require an annual increase of #22.5 billion .
Furtheremore, if it is argued that in spite of the savings outlined above, an increase in borrowing or taxation is needed, the predictable shock-horror reaction would not be supported by international comparisons. OECD projections for 1996 indicate that Britain's annual Government takings will amount to 37.9% of GDP, as opposed to the European average of 45.2%. Of EU countries, only Greece has a lower tax requirement than Britain. Similarly, Britain's borrowing projections in the year 2000 are only 47.4% of GDP, compared to an European average of 70%.

The conclusion is that with a few minor adjustments to the spending programme, the country could comfortably afford to get back to work. If in spite of all, the Wage Subsidy (or outright Citizen's Income) scheme is dismissed as too much out of line with accepted thinking, then society still has a decision. The poor, al Jesus said, are always with us. In addition the unemployed are also with us. Full employemnt in its classic sense is a thing of the past. It is not sustainable to carry on as we are, grudgingly carrying those for whom we have no economic role in the present system, giving them a pittance to keep them from starving on condition that they do no work, and snatching it back if they do find work. Either Government creates a rational welfare system that works along the lines outlined above, or Government creates workfare, work camps and finally extermination camps for those who are superfluous to current economic requirements, in the manner pioneered by Hitler. And in case any right wing reader thinks that this is a serious proposition, let it be said now that such a solution would lead to exactly the same mayhem and destruction that Hitler caused. We cannot go down that path; we cannot remain where we are: therefore we have no option but to go for Citizen's Income by way of Wage Subsidy.

 
© 2001 R. Lawson