Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has announced a series of green investment proposals, saying Scottish workers must be given the best chance to manufacture offshore wind turbines.
Speaking during a visit to Fife College, Rennie called for a Scotland-wide effort to scale-up capacity in order to compete for jobs and avoid Scottish firms missing out on work against foreign competitors.
He said: “Alex Salmond promised we would be the Saudi Arabia of renewables. The SNP make big announcements but don’t back them up. The workers at BiFab know that better than anyone.
“They were told by the Scottish Government that the takeover it had brokered was ‘a very good day’ and that jobs were safe, only to be handed P45s just 21 days later. The yards then only had capacity to bid for four of the 114 offshore turbines right on its doorstep. The work all sailed off to the Middle East and China.
“If somebody is spending £1.4bn on wind turbines within eyesight of the Scottish shoreline, then Scottish industry must be in a position to win a contract for more than just the photography.”
Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) missed out on work as part of the manufacturing process for new offshore wind farms last year.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats said the party would help give the areas of the country invested in fossil fuels the support needed to transition to new industries.
The plans include a proposal to establish a successor to the Just Transition Commission, with a membership that includes affected workers and communities, trade unions and environmental interests.
The commission started work in 2019 and was set up to advise the Scottish Government on establishing a zero-carbon economy.
Rennie said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats will scale-up and deliver jobs at every stage of the process and use Scotland’s immense technical, scientific and engineering skills to tackle the climate emergency. It’s a task that can only be done with a government that will put recovery first.”