The leader of Aberdeen cooncil has urged Scottish First Minister to locate 300 new Scottish civil service jobs in the city to counter-act the oil jobs slump in the north east.
More than 10,000 directly-employed workers have lost their jobs in the N. Sea oil and gas industry since crude oil prices dived from a 10 year-high of more than $100-barrel in June 2014.
House prices are stagnating – if not falling – and room rates and occupancy levels at hotels in the Granite City have also fallen markedly over the past two years.
As a result, Councillor Jenny Laing has today called for the new Scottish Benefits Agency – to be set up as a consequence of ongoing devolution – to be based in the north east.
She said: “Aberdeen has suffered greatly over the past two years as a result of the dramatic downturn in the oil and gas industry.
“Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost and it seems not a month goes by without yet another announcement of further job cuts in the beleaguered sector.
“You can imagine the impact – both economic and psychological – that such devastating news has on the people who live and work in the city.
“The new welfare agency will see the creation of 300 jobs, and although a drop in the ocean when you consider the speed and ferocity in which our city’s employment has been decimated, I believe any decision to base the new agency in Aberdeen will send a strong signal to people here that the Scottish Government is making every possible effort to mitigate the impact of the current crisis.”
“Aberdeen has been hit by a series of hammer blows and, despite our disproportionate contribution to the UK and Scottish economies over the past 40 years, we have seen very little in the way of support from the SNP government.
“As you prepare to dole out the goodies from the Smith Commission, you should show the people of Aberdeen that we are not the SNP’s forgotten city and that you will do everything in your power to support Aberdeen during this difficult period.
“The location for such a critical agency in Aberdeen can only have a positive impact on our local economy and employment situation.”
A spokesman for Sturgeon said that no decisions had been taken on the location of the Scottish Benefits Agency.
** ‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative: