THE UK Government’s post-Brexit anti-immigration policies are a threat to Scotland’s Just Transition to net zero, a report on green jobs has suggested.

Management consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, in their second annual Green Jobs Barometer analysis, noted a “significant” skills gap in the UK that cannot be addressed by the existing energy workforce.

It also found Scotland is creating a higher proportion of green jobs than elsewhere in the UK, but also cautioned that a disproportionate number of jobs are being created in London and the South East of England. One in five new green jobs are based in the capital.

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The SNP said the report shows that Scotland’s Just Transition is being “hobbled and undermined” by the UK Tory Government.

The report from PwC stated: “There is a significant skills gap in the UK. It cannot be addressed from the existing energy workforce alone: Given the scale of demand and the one in five workers in the sector retiring by 2030, the UK faces a significant green skills gap, needing 400,000 people to create a net zero energy workforce.

“Without government intervention, there will be an insufficient supply of the skills needed to meet the UK’s impending decarbonisation targets.”

Scotland had the “strongest regional performance” for the creation of green jobs across the UK, driven by the energy sector in the north east, the report added.

It explained: “The region boasts the largest pool of energy-related skills in the UK, skills which are highly transferable to roles in the emerging renewables subsector.

“Research from Robert Gordon University suggests that if sufficient investment is made in the region to deliver 18GW of offshore wind, it would lead to a 20% increase in North East Scotland’s offshore energy workforce to 54,000 people by 2030.”

SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast Karen Adam said: “At every turn, Scotland’s just transition towards net zero is being hobbled and undermined by an intransigent Westminster Tory Government.

“The Tories have refused to invest in the Scottish Cluster and the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen project. These are critical projects, not just for the North East but for the whole of Scotland and our ambitious net zero energy strategy.”

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Adam added that the Tories “ideological obsession” with Brexit will hold Scotland back even more.

She added: “We need 400,000 workers to deliver this transition and while current oil industry workers should transition across to fill a large number of these highly-skilled jobs, we will need additional support from elsewhere to make this work if we are to hit our targets.

“Another alarming trend emerging from this report is that one in five of these new green jobs being created are based in London and the south east of England – a full 400 miles from the city of Aberdeen and the centre of our just transition from oil and gas to renewables.

“It’s increasingly obvious that a combination of Tory intransigence, their twisted Brexit ideology or their inevitable and predictable prioritising of jobs in London will not work for Scotland, and that our commitment to a just transition to net zero will be best realised if Scotland becomes an independent country.”