Former UK minister to chair new commission for Scottish Labour

Brian Wilson, who served as industry and energy minister in Tony Blair’s government, will lead the new body.

Former UK minister to chair new commission for Scottish Labour LizzieMaher via IStock
The commission will run for at least 18 months, Scottish Labour said.

Former UK Government energy minister Brian Wilson is to chair a new taskforce being set up by Scottish Labour to look at how jobs can be created and protected as the country moves to greener forms of power.

Anas Sarwar will use his speech at the Labour Party’s UK conference in Brighton on Monday to reveal plans to establish the Scottish Energy Transmission Commission.

Wilson, who served as industry and energy minister in Tony Blair’s government, will lead the new body.

The commission will run for at least 18 months, Scottish Labour said, and will focus much of its work on examining how best to ensure that the transition to green energy can deliver jobs and prosperity for Scotland.

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It comes as the party said there were now fewer than 22,000 people working in low carbon and renewable energy jobs in Scotland – despite the SNP claiming there could be 130,000 people working in the sector by 2020.

Sarwar said: “The transition to net-zero holds tremendous opportunities for Scottish manufacturing and our economy, but we cannot trust the SNP to deliver jobs here in Scotland.

“That’s why this commission will focus relentlessly on how we can make the transition to net-zero deliver work, confidence and prosperity to Scotland.”

Speaking ahead of the conference address, the MSP insisted: “We cannot allow a repeat of the end of mining, where communities were hollowed out, workers were stripped of their dignity and our industrial skills base was destroyed.

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“That is the path that the SNP and the Tories have got Scotland on.

“The only way to avoid that injustice is to put at the heart of everything we do a focus on creating and supporting a jobs first transition which has the support of workers and the local communities.”

Sarwar said he was “delighted” that Wilson had agreed to lead the commission, which he said would “help plan a path to a brighter, greener and more prosperous Scotland”.