Sheffield’s Councillors have supported a Labour motion setting out an ambition to support Sheffield’s SMEs to address climate impacts.
Supporting small businesses will be a challenge to reach net zero. Despite accounting for 50% of UK business emissions, 76% of SMEs do not have comprehensive decarbonisation strategies. 35% of small businesses have identified cost as a barrier to reducing their carbon emissions.
The motion, proposed by Labour Councillor Minesh Parekh, sets out some of the measures that Sheffield City Council have undertaken to support businesses be greener, including a £3.4m grant recently approved by its Economic Development and Skills committee to help businesses invest in energy efficiency measures, and the opportunities for local businesses through the expansion of the district heating network.
Minesh Parekh, Labour’s lead for Economic Development and Skills, said:
“With record high energy costs, this should be a perfect opportunity for them to invest in energy efficiency measures and scale up renewables, so that households and businesses can have greener and cheaper supply.
“Sheffield’s small businesses want to be leaders on the climate. They need a willing partner in Government that will invest in low-carbon and zero-carbon energies, and provide for businesses.
“We will do everything we can to support our businesses to decarbonise and save on energy costs. The Government must meet us in our ambition.”
The motion also highlights the recent £80m investment secured for a Boeing-led manufacturing project at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and that Sheffield’s draft Local Plan sets out a vision for bringing ‘advanced manufacturing and green industries and will deliver high-skilled, high-wage jobs’. The draft Local Plan is to be considered at the same meeting, and Sheffield Labour Councillors have pushed for a focus on advanced manufacturing in the Plan throughout its formation.
It states that climate change must be addressed ‘in a way that creates good green jobs’, and that ‘pursuing a decarbonisation agenda will unlock social, economic and climate opportunities.’
Ben Miskell, Sheffield Labour’s Climate lead, said:
“Through our Decarbonisation Routemaps, Sheffield City Council is setting out ambitious plans to address the climate emergency.
“There is a key role for our businesses to play in this, and we know the Government must do much more to mitigate rising energy costs and facilitate our businesses to lead on this vital agenda.”
The full motion can be found here:
“A Fairer Green Economy for Sheffield” – Given By Councillor Minesh Parekh And To Be Seconded By Councillor Ruth Milsom
That this Council:-
(a) notes that:-
(i) through its Decarbonisation Routemaps, the Council is setting out plans to minimise, mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency;
(ii) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 50% of UK business emissions, yet currently 76% of SMEs do not have a decarbonisation strategy;
(iii) as well as residents, SMEs are struggling with record energy costs; and
(iv) Sheffield’s businesses want to be leaders on climate but need a willing partner in Government that is prepared to invest in low-carbon energy and provide energy support for businesses;
(i) that South Yorkshire is the UK’s first Investment Zone which will create new opportunities for jobs and investment in Sheffield;
(ii) the new £80m investment for a Boeing-led research project at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) into manufacturing lightweight structures for aeroplanes which is a key part of making global aviation more sustainable;
(iii) that Sheffield has been announced as a heat network zoning pioneer, opening a route to cheaper and cleaner energy for our city’s businesses and public services; and
(iv) the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee’s recent approval of £3.4m Shared Prosperity Funding to support SMEs become more energy efficient;
(c) believes that:-
(i) the development of home-grown British renewables and nuclear power will make us less dependent on energy imports;
(ii) we must address climate change in a way that creates good green jobs;
(iii) trade unions must be partners in any industrial transition;
(iv) Sheffield’s advancing manufacturing and research expertise provides enormous potential to create new jobs in the nuclear and low-carbon energy sectors;
(v) pursuing a decarbonisation agenda will unlock social, economic and climate opportunities and deliver sustainable economic growth;
(vi) Sheffield’s draft Local Plan sets out an ambitious vision for advanced manufacturing and green industries and will deliver high-skilled, high-wage jobs; and
(vii) the Labour Party’s commitment to invest £3 billion in green steel production will support steel jobs in Stocksbridge and lead to more steel jobs in the future; and
(d) resolves to:-
(i) ask the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee to consider working with partners, including its Diverse Business Advisory Board and the Chamber of Commerce, on how to further support small businesses to address climate impacts; and
(ii) establish a cross-committee working group, drawing on Members from the Governance Committee, the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee, and the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, to investigate how the Authority’s Decarbonisation Routemaps can be embedded into our decision-making structures.