Only the Scottish Conservatives standing up for the north east

The Scottish Conservatives are today standing up for oil and gas workers whose livelihoods are at risk now they have been abandoned by Scotland’s other political parties.

The party will argue in a Parliamentary debate that prematurely ending the oil and gas industry would decimate the economy of the north east of Scotland, costing tens of thousands of jobs, and prevent a fair and managed transition to renewables.

It would also undermine Scotland's net zero ambitions by forcing the country to import supplies from overseas.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Liam Kerr, proposed his motion amid doubts over the future of the Cambo project after Nicola Sturgeon voiced her opposition to it and Shell subsequently pulled out.

Under pressure from their coalition partners, the anti-business Scottish Greens, the SNP have turned their back on the oil and gas industry -  which previously formed the basis of their economic case for independence.

Scottish Labour have also proved themselves to be out of touch with the north east, insisting there should be no new investments in oil and gas. Labour fails to understand that turning off the taps in the North Sea will not help the transition away from oil and gas.

Instead, doing so would push our domestic demand abroad, and dismantle an industry committed to decarbonisation, leaving tens of thousands at risk of unemployment.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Liam Kerr said: “Nicola Sturgeon is willing to sacrifice up to 100,000 jobs just to keep the extremist Greens in her government happy.

“The SNP have given no thought to the devastating consequences her government’s betrayal will have on jobs and the economy.

“Labour have proved themselves to be no better – pretending to speak up for a just transition, then refusing to back the Cambo project.

“Unlike the other parties, the Scottish Conservatives are listening to the oil and gas industry - and standing up for a workforce that understandably feels abandoned.

“We will continue to work with the UK Government and its £16 billion North Sea Transition Deal, to secure the necessary fair transition for workers.

“Our motion demonstrates there is only one party in the Scottish Parliament standing up for our oil and gas industry and those skilled workers.”

Notes

Labour is opposed to new oil and gas exploration. Anas Sarwar called for a ‘truly just transition away from fossil fuels’ which would include moving oil and gas workers into renewables (Energy Voice, 5 August 2021, link).

Anas Sawar is opposed to Cambo. He said ‘We don’t support Cambo. It’s not consistent with our obligations and our commitments around achieving net zero.’ (Press and Journal, 28 November 2021, link)

Monica Lennon has been a strong advocation of stopping Cambo. In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, in August, she wrote ‘Despite the lack of leadership from ministers in the UK and Scottish governments, the people-powered Stop Cambo campaign is gaining momentum’. ‘This is thanks to the courage and passion of citizens across Scotland and beyond. They deserve to know that our political leaders understand the science and are paying attention’. ‘First Minister, they need you to use your voice and influence to oppose Cambo. Workers and communities need to see that the Scottish Government is actively working to deliver a just transition to a green economy and has a credible energy plan’. ‘For the sake of our planet, I am asking the Scottish Government to join with Scottish Labour and campaigners in opposing the Cambo oil field. Please advise when you will be making your position on Cambo known to the public’. (The Courier, Evening Telegraph, 11 August 2021, link)

Monica Lennon logged a motion welcoming Sccair Point Energy’s decision to pause Cambo. The motion text read that ‘the Parliament welcomes the reported decision by Siccar Point Energy to pause the Cambo oil field development and ‘considers that urgent action is needed to reduce Scotland's economic reliance on oil and gas’ (Motion ref. S6M-02526, Beyond Cambo: Achieving a Just Transition for Workers and Communities, The Scottish Parliament, 14 December 2021, link)

 

Mercedes Villalba spoke at a protest. The North East MSP spoke at a demonstration, along with Lorna Slater, where demonstrators occupied  Queen Elizabeth House, a UK Government hub in Edinburgh, and demonstrating with placards on the street outside against plans to develop the Cambo oilfield. (Press and Journal, 19 July 2021, link)

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