SCOTLAND’S finance Secretary has told the SNP conference that Holyrood is picking up the slack for Westminster, and challenged the UK government to provide funding for oil and gas transition.
Kate Forbes announced at least £3bn over the lifetime of the current parliament would be put towards creating a so-called “just transition” for the oil and gas sector, while millions would also be spent supporting workers.
Ms Forbes explained: “As we look ahead to the eyes of the world being on Glasgow in November for COP26, the Scottish Government’s commitment is clear.
“I can confirm today that we will invest at least £3 billion over the life of this parliament to deliver a just transition, supporting a green revolution in transport, helping those in fuel poverty and laying the foundations for a fairer, greener Scotland.”
The MSP challenged Westminster to provide the same level of funding as the Scottish Government £500m – to the Moray and North East Just Transition Fund, which will be spent over the next 10 years.
She said that her party would not forget those who currently work in oil and gas, explaining: “We have an opportunity to deliver a just transition to a new economy as we tackle the climate emergency. I want to be clear that, in doing so, we will not abandon our workers and communities in that process.
“Thirty years ago, at a previous industrial crossroads, the Government of the day abandoned workers and forgot about industry. You have our commitment, we will not allow history to repeat itself.”
Ms Forbes told delegates that one of the greatest threats to Scotland’s economy was the ” hostile” immigration policy introduced by the Home Secretary Priti Patel.
She added: “Businesses and public bodies are deeply concerned about vacancies because of Brexit. The haulage sector doesn’t have enough drivers, the fish processing industry can’t find workers and care homes are struggling to recruit.
“All because so many of our valued European friends have chosen not to stay and others have chosen not to come.
“The powers over immigration lie entirely with the UK Government, despite pressing for them to be devolved.
“And so again the SNP Government is picking up the slack where the UK Government has failed.”