Number of green jobs in Scotland falls again, ONS figures reveal

The number of low carbon and renewable energy jobs in Scotland fell by 900 in 2020.

Number of low carbon and renewable energy jobs in Scotland falls again, ONS figures reveal iStock
The number of low carbon and renewable energy jobs in Scotland fell by 900 in 2020.

The number of green jobs in Scotland has fallen again with businesses making less money, official figures suggest.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates reveal that employment in the low carbon and renewable energy sector dropped from 21,400 full-time jobs in 2019 to 20,500 in 2020.

It is the fourth consecutive year that job numbers have decreased, down from 24,000 in 2016.

Scottish business turnover in the low carbon and renewable energy economy was estimated to be £5.5bn as part of the £41.2bn recorded across the UK.

Turnover was down from £5.7bn the year before, with the UK-wide figure down from £42.6bn in 2019.

The ONS figures define the low carbon and renewable energy sector as businesses in one of 17 industries, including offshore and onshore wind, hydropower, nuclear, low-emission vehicles and carbon capture.

Responding to the figures, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said a lack of a coherent industrial strategy was responsible for the decline of green jobs.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Workers were promised the Saudi Arabia of renewables, but all they got was a desert.

“We are getting sick and tired of reading promises of a bright new green jobs future when the truth is we have fewer than we did eight years ago, and the number continues to fall.

“We may have a massive share of Europe’s installed onshore wind capacity, but we don’t manufacture turbines.

“And we may have some of Europe’s largest offshore wind farms, but we barely fabricate any jackets.

“We need a new strategy, and we need it urgently.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are fully committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2045 and transforming Scotland into a fairer, greener and more prosperous country.

“That is why we have committed £2bn in low carbon funding to invest in new measures to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change and create green jobs.

“Creating, supporting and monitoring green jobs through initiatives like the Just Transition Fund for the north east and Moray and the Green Jobs Fund will be vital in helping Scotland to secure a truly just transition to net zero, with no person or region left behind.”

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