ALISTER Jack has once again snubbed the SNP’s call for Westminster to match the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition Fund.

Three months ago, the SNP’s energy and industrial strategy spokesperson Alan Brown sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to match the commitment.

The letter said the fund would help the number of low-carbon jobs in Scotland reach 77,000 by 2050.

“Scotland has the potential to be a leader in renewable energy but we need the workforce and investment to achieve this”, the letter read.

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Commenting, Brown said: “After three months of waiting, the Secretary of State’s response has confirmed that the UK Government are not interested in a Just Transition for the north east.

“At a time when Harbour Energy has announced 350 redundancies, this response is nothing short of tone deaf.

“The SNP’s commitment to a Just Transition is in stark contrast to the Tories, who have left people and businesses across the North East waiting almost two years for Westminster to match the SNP Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund.”

While the Prime Minister did not respond personally to Brown, Jack sent a letter to the MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun.

Jack said he was responding “on behalf of the Prime Minister” and that the “UK Government fully supports the oil and gas sector in Scotland which plays a vital role in strengthening our energy security and the clean energy transition”.

He continued: “We are committed, through the North Sea Transition deal, to working with the offshore oil and gas industry in partnership to achieve a managed energy transition, which leaves no-one behind.

The National:

“The sector deal between the UK Government and the oil and gas industry will support workers, businesses, and the supply chain through this transition by harnessing the industry’s existing capabilities, infrastructure and private investment potential to exploit new and emerging technologies such as hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage, offshore wind and decommissioning.”

He continued to say that the UK Government has helped to “grow green jobs opportunities across the UK’ through the Green Jobs Delivery Group programme.

The letter added: “As of April 2022, the UK Government estimated that nearly 68,000 jobs had been previously supported, were currently supported or have been secured for the future since the launch of the Ten Point Plan in November 2020 across the UK including in Scotland.

“The Delivery Group will look at ways of ensuring all sectors of the economy and parts of the country can benefit from the green transition.”

Brown added that “warm words won’t cut it” when it comes to investing in the energy sector.

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He continued: “It’s time for the UK Government to act, and act now. If they fail on this, Scotland – and in particular the north east – will not forgive them for it.

“However, there can be no doubt that independence is the only way to ensure Scotland fulfils its vast potential and continues as a world-leader when it comes to tackling our climate crisis.”

Jack said that he hoped Brown had found his response “helpful” and that he looked forward to “working with the Scottish Government on this important issue in the future”.