Scottish Government ‘must invest’ in BiFab yards to secure renewables work

The BiFab yard in Burntisland
The BiFab yard in Burntisland
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The Scottish Government must invest in the BiFab yards if they are to secure future work in the renewable energy revolution, a senior Labour MP has warned.

Lesley Laird, the shadow Scottish secretary, has written to Nicola Sturgeon to urge her to take action and make the investment required at the Fife fabrication sites to ensure they are competitive when tendering for contracts.

Her letter comes ahead of a union-backed ‘Ready for Renewal’ rally, which will take place at the Scottish Parliament on Friday.

It echoes comments from former prime minister Gordon Brown, who last month claimed SNP ministers had done “too little” to bring work to the Fife yards.

Trade unions have previously warned that BiFab will miss out on contracts to manufacture turbine jackets for a planned wind farm, even though it will be located just 10 miles offshore from its Methil yard.

READ MORE: Brown accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over wind farm contracts

Ms Laird said: “Scotland has a real opportunity to be a world leader in renewables and at the forefront of a Green Industrial Revolution if the political will is there to make it happen. We are in the midst of a climate crisis and as a society we will have to change our way of life to ensure that we preserve our planet.

“That is undoubtedly a great challenge, but it is also a great opportunity that we must seize. I believe that the high-skilled, high-paid green jobs of the future should be right here in Scotland and that should start with the yards at BiFab. The skills are already there and have been for a long time, but investment is required in the yards to make them competitive enough to win contracts in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The STUC Ready for Renewal campaign has the backing of the local community in Fife and it has the backing of the Labour Party. Unfortunately without financial commitments from the Scottish Government, who have a minority stake in the yard to make necessary improvements, the campaign is unlikely to be successful.

“That is why, ahead of Friday’s rally, I have written to Nicola Sturgeon asking her to invest in the BiFab yards and make it absolutely clear that Scotland is ready to lead the world in the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We have made a long-term investment in the company, and are in regular contact with BiFab.

“It was clear at the point new ownership was secured that conditions would remain challenging for the yards and new contracts would have to be won to secure future work.

“Scottish Government ministers are in regular dialogue with industry stakeholders and we have confidence that everything possible is being done to secure new contracts and to restore employment at the yards.”