STEPHEN Flynn has challenged Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to commit to matching the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition Fund.

The SNP’s Westminster leader made the call after the Prime Minister announced the UK Government’s intention to sign off on hundreds of new oil and gas projects.

Climate activists reacted to the decision with fury and accused the UK Government of “blatant climate change denial”, pointing to calls from scientists and the UN to stop all fossil fuel exploration to limit rising global temperatures.

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It comes as the SNP also welcomed the announcement of funding for the Acorn carbon capture project in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, but noted it came after “18 years of dither and delay” from the UK Government.

Flynn, following the announcement on Monday, said that if either Sunak or Starmer is “serious about a green, renewable future”, then they should commit to matching the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund.

We also revealed how the Tories have accepted millions of pounds worth of cash from donors with links to the fossil fuel industry and climate denial in recent years.

The National: LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: Leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons Stephen Flynn poses for a portrait in the Houses of Parliament on January 24, 2023 in London, England. Elected into the role in December 2022, Flynn replaced Ian

“If Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer are serious about a green renewable future, then matching the Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund is imperative,” Flynn (pictured above) said.

“The SNP Scottish government has shown its ambition by committing £500m to a Just Transition Fund - but this has to be matched by Westminster.

“Successive UK governments have exploited Scotland’s vast energy resources for decades now to bolster UK finances.

“They must now take responsibility and work with the Scottish Government to unlock Scotland’s enormous renewable energy potential.

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“From the US to the EU, countries across the world are pouring money into the green energy gold rush, but with the UK government moving at a snail’s pace, Scotland risks being left behind.

“At the next election, only the SNP are offering voters a real alternative with independence - which would give a democratically elected Scottish Government full control over energy policy and enable us to ensure the north east becomes the renewable energy capital of the world.

“Scotland has the energy - we just need the power.”

The National: Rishi Sunak in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, on MondayRishi Sunak in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, on Monday (Image: PA)

The Acorn project site in St Fergus will be selected as one of the sites where carbon dioxide will be stored deep underground in a bid to combat emissions.

The project was snubbed during previous funding rounds, a move described at the time as a “complete betrayal”.

Elsewhere, climate activists have criticised the UK Government’s announcement that more licences will be granted in the North Sea.

Young Scottish activists told how they were “furious” at the decision and vowed to challenge the Government on their announcement.