'Positive' update on Grangemouth jobs to be made soon, says new Scottish secretary

The new Labour government says it is committed to looking at securing hundreds of at-risk jobs at Grangemouth

The new Scottish secretary is vowing to give a positive update on the future of Grangemouth soon.

This comes after Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said he and his new Energy Secretary Ed Miliband have already begun discussions on saving hundreds of jobs at the oil refinery. 

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The oil refinery in Grangemouth, operated by PetroIneos, is due to close in the spring.

It will be turned into a fuel import terminal only, putting around 400 jobs at the site at risk.

There are also concerns about the impact this will have on energy security, as it would leave Scotland as the only major oil-producing nation without its own oil refinery.

Scottish Secretary Ian Murray now says securing the future of the refinery is a “hugely important priority” for him and the new Labour government.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Murray said: “The Prime Minister and the First Minister discussed this on Sunday - it was the very first briefing that I got when I was appointed as secretary of state for Scotland on Saturday morning.

“The bottom line here is we’ve got both governments fully focused on trying to find a way through in terms of Grangemouth.

The Grangemouth oil refinery is due to close next year. Image: Michael Gillen/National World.The Grangemouth oil refinery is due to close next year. Image: Michael Gillen/National World.
The Grangemouth oil refinery is due to close next year. Image: Michael Gillen/National World.

“There will be, hopefully, fairly positive announcements soon on a way forward.”

The Prime Minister and First Minister John Swinney met at Bute House in Edinburgh on Sunday, during Sir Keir’s first official visit in charge.

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Mr Murray also said the idea of turning the refinery into a hub creating aviation fuel is a “huge opportunity”.

However he added he does not yet know whether public cash would be invested into something like this.

He said: “The bottom line at the moment is that we don’t know the answers to those questions - nobody does.

“That’s why the Scottish Government, UK Government, the trade unions and the company are working very, very hard together to find a way through this huge problem that we have at the Grangemouth refinery.”

At the weekend, the Prime Minister told journalists: “I’m very concerned about the situation at Grangemouth.

“I’m now Prime Minister and it’s my duty to do what I can to ensure that jobs are preserved and that the future is as good as I’m sure it can be.

“I won’t go into the details, but it is a real priority for me.”

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