Labour promises of Scottish renewable jobs boost branded ‘laughable’
LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to use Scotland’s resources to turn the UK into a “clean energy superpower”.
Starmer is vowing to boost renewable energy jobs, attacking the SNP for their progress in transforming Scotland into the “Saudi Arabia of renewable marine energy” as once boasted by Alex Salmond.
Starmer said Labour’s green prosperity plan would more than double the number of low-carbon jobs in Scotland – with the party claiming they could deliver more than 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the renewable energy sector over a decade.
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The Labour chief claimed the SNP in power had “chased the headlines but not done the work”.
He insisted: “Labour will deliver lower bills, good jobs, and energy security for Scotland, as Britain leads the world in the fight against climate change.”
The Labour leader was speaking as he visited the giant Beatrice Wind Farm off the Caithness coast in the far north of Scotland.
Currently Scotland’s largest operational offshore wind farm, the development has 84 turbines and is capable of generating enough electricity to power about 450,000 homes.
Starmer visited the site along with shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.
Speaking during his third visit north of the Border in three weeks, Starmer declared: “The route to making Britain a clean energy superpower, slashing energy bills and creating tens of thousands of quality jobs runs through Scotland.”
Labour’s green prosperity plan would also include setting up a public energy company – something the SNP previously committed to doing but later U-turned on.
Labour insist their proposed GB Energy would see the people of Scotland benefit from the country’s natural resources.
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The party said its plans could help households in Scotland save £84 billion on their power bills over the rest of this decade – the equivalent of cutting £475 a year from bills for every family up to 2030.
Starmer said: “There should be no doubt – our energy plans will be made in Scotland, cutting energy bills for Scottish families, and delivering the jobs and investment in Scottish communities that for far too long have been let down by the SNP and Conservatives.
“When it comes to capitalising on Scotland’s energy resources, for 15 years the SNP government has chased the headlines but not done the work.”
SNP MSP Gillian Martin hit back at the Labour leader, saying: “It is laughable that Keir Starmer is trying to argue that the SNP has failed on renewables whilst visiting a wind farm opened under the SNP and reported as the ‘fourth-largest offshore wind farm in the world’ – he is utterly clueless about what is happening in Scotland.
“It doesn’t matter how many times Keir Starmer smiles for Scottish cameras – it fools no-one.
“It was a Labour Westminster government that introduced the transmission charging causing larger bills in Scotland, and it has been decades of Westminster governments failing to properly harness Scotland’s immense energy resources that has left people across Scotland paying the price.
“Labour is pro-Brexit, while Scotland is not. That means a UK Labour government will continue to ignore the needs, interests and wishes of people across Scotland and actively pursue policy that harms our interests. It could not be clearer that Scotland needs the full powers of independence to properly deliver clean, green and affordable renewable energy for the benefit of people living and working here.”