That is the stark warning from the UK Green Building Council and construction industry as the Government considers its review of green levies.
The body warns that the first waves of jobs cuts could strike before Christmas if the Chancellor unveils measures to cut or scale-back Energy Company Obligation in the Autumn statement on 5 December.
Rob Lambe, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Energy Services, said: “We have invested heavily in establishing a business to respond to the projected market opportunities of energy efficiency under ECO.
“Over the next year we anticipated employing more than 400 tradesmen installing insulation to solid walled properties.
“But if ECO funding is cut, this work will simply come to a grinding halt and these jobs will be lost, with thousands more at risk in the wider industry.”
Sally Hancox, Director at Gentoo, said: “The position the industry currently finds itself in is extremely serious and we are calling for urgent action to be taken before more jobs are put at risk and vulnerable households left to choose between eating or heating their home this winter.
“We believe that the Coalition’s brave, strong initial commitment to ECO remains right. The large-scale installation of green measures actively stimulates economic activity, it creates jobs, and addresses the growing issue of fuel poverty.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has already signalled his desire to “roll back” green levies following the public debate on the cost they add to household energy bills.
The Association of the Conservation of Energy estimate up to 33,000 people are currently employed delivering ECO and the Green Deal.
This should have risen to 60,000 jobs in 2015, according to Government’s own projections.
Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “The Prime Minister needs to realise that going after ECO in a bid to cut household energy bills could end up costing 10,000 construction and insulation jobs.
“That will decimate the very industry that is helping people – including some of the most vulnerable in society – reduce their bills in the long-term.”