COP26: Scottish Labour demand green jobs action as SNP accuse Alister Jack of not visiting renewable energy companies

Scottish Labour have demanded immediate investment in green jobs ahead of COP26.

Campaigners hold a banner during a demonstration organised by the Climate Coalition in Parliament Square, London, to mark 100 days to go until the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Speaking with the Glasgow conference 100 days away, Monica Lennon MSP demanded “urgent action” and the immediate deployment of the £100m Green Jobs Fund.

The calls come as the SNP criticised the UK Scottish Secretary for not visiting a single Scottish renewable energy company in the first quarter of 2021.

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Scottish Labour’s Environment and Transport spokesperson warned failing to generate Green jobs now risks Scotland being “left behind” by the renewables revolution.

She said: “In just 100 days the eyes of the world will be on Scotland, and yet this SNP government is failing to deliver the green jobs that people need.

“Scotland should be a world leader in renewables, but the SNP has taken their eye off the ball.

“It’s no good SNP ministers announcing a £100m for green projects in 2020, only to hold it back from the businesses and workers who need it.

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“A Scottish Energy Development Agency should be established urgently, to ensure future funds and support are distributed quickly and to the right places.

“Only radical and immediate action will do to meet the challenge of the climate crisis and to ensure that the people of Scotland benefit from a planned transition to a greener economy.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In 2021/22 we will invest more than £1 billion to create jobs and ensure people have the skills needed as we build a stronger, fairer and more sustainable economy.

“Through our £100 million Green Jobs Fund, and other mechanisms at our disposal, we will empower businesses and workers to take advantage of the opportunities arising from Scotland's just transition to net zero.

“The Fund was developed in the early part of 2021, with a call to business on 22 March and an application process during May and June. Applications are currently being reviewed and we anticipate successful applicants will be awarded grants later this year.”

It comes as SNP MP Alan Brown accused the Scottish Secretary of not taking renewables seriously.

The SNP’s spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change claimed he had repeatedly asked how many companies Mr Jack had visited this year, and now found out it was none.

He said: “As COP26 fast approaches, the UK government should be making it a priority to meet representatives from the Scottish renewable sector to discuss how to promote their industry.

“This Tory government should be pulling out all the stops to highlight and promote this sector which is the future of Scottish and British energy.

“Not only is this UK government failing Scotland in energy grid charges – which sees Scotland charged the highest in all of Europe – they are falling asleep at the wheel when it comes to our renewable energy sector, too.”

The Scotsman understands Scotland Office ministers have met with the sector, including Minister David Duguid who leads on energy policy.

A UK Government spokesperson said: "The UK Government is bringing the COP26 to Glasgow, leading the way on international efforts to tackle climate change.

"We are setting a high bar for other countries to follow as we build back greener from the pandemic. That includes engaging with and supporting Scotland's fantastic green energy sector."

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