SNP policy on the future of oil and gas production leaves communities at risk of an uncertain future, Nicola Sturgeon is being warned.
Scottish Conservatives are putting the first minister on the post again before a Scottish Parliament debate on Wednesday, sparked by a decision to pause work on the controversial Cambo oil field off the coast of Shetland.
The party accuses the Scottish Government of “abandoning” the oil and gas industry and risking thousands of jobs in the north-east to “appease” their Green coalition partners.
Ms Sturgeon told us on Monday she is determined to give workers a fair deal in the move to low-carbon energy and jobs, following a backlash around her party’s long-term support for oil and gas workers.
‘Already costing Scottish jobs’
Tories continue to attack the SNP, blaming what they call a “corrosive influence” of the Greens.
Meanwhile, former first minister Alex Salmond is also attacking his former party with damning claims Ms Sturgeon had “kicked the north-east in the teeth”.
Speaking ahead of the debate in parliament, Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative net zero spokesman, accused the SNP of being “willing to abandon an industry that supports tens of thousands of jobs”.
Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens energy and climate spokesman, hit back while describing the Conservatives as “sleepwalking when it comes to the climate crisis”.
Mr Kerr said the north-east faces a “sudden cliff edge that risks devastating communities” in the region.
The north-east MSP said: “Imported oil and gas has a carbon footprint more than twice that of domestic production, and would make it even harder for us to reach net zero.
“The SNP-Green Government’s naive understanding of our energy needs will only force Scotland to import more energy from abroad, costing the public more and increasing emissions.”
Mr Ruskell said the Tories “care more about scaremongering than jobs”.
He added: “Recognising the need today for a managed phase out of oil and gas production will give us many years to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and allow the sector to make a transition that leaves no workers behind.
“Only by investing in alternative careers can we secure a sustainable future for oil and gas workers and tackle the climate emergency.”
The Scottish budget unveiled last week included just £20 million of the £500m Just Transition Fund for the north-east and Moray, which will be used to help identify “key projects” in the move away from reliance on fossil fuel jobs.
The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.
Read more on the future of energy:
- Nicola Sturgeon promises energy jobs after backlash at oil and gas worker support
- Alex Salmond: SNP ‘kicked north-east in the teeth’ over oil and gas
- Oil and gas jobs in Scotland: Where are they and what next for the industry?
- How the north-east missed out on carbon capture investment from Westminster