GMB Scotland has warned that delays to the passing of the forthcoming Energy Act by amendments to the Bill over taxpayer subsidies for wind farms could spell more jobs misery across the Scottish oil and gas sector.
Last night in the Commons, MPs defeated a Lords amendment to extend the grace period for four onshore wind farm projects affected by the Bill’s proposed closure of the Renewables Obligation subsidy.
However the political ping-pong between the Commons and the Lords has increased concerns among oil and gas sector workers that measures to help maximise economic recovery and to sustain employment could be further delayed, affecting crucial investment to tackle the ongoing impact of the oil price crisis.
The Bill is scheduled to be debated again in the House of Lords tonight.
Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, said: “The Energy Bill contains important measures to help alleviate the severe pressures on jobs, terms and conditions across our oil and gas sector – we’ve already lost 65,000 jobs and we can’t afford that decline to continue.
“It makes no sense whatsoever to compromise the Bill and the future of Scotland’s oil and gas sector over a taxpayer subsidy that will only end-up in the pockets of the hedge funds and wealthy landowners who benefit significantly from the onshore wind sector.
“A balanced energy supply is crucial but some 200,000 jobs in Scotland depend on our oil and gas industry and delays to this Energy Bill could have serious consequences for the tanking Scottish economy and the skilled manufacturing jobs which we continue to haemorrhage.”
GMB Scotland is urging MPs and Lords to be aware of the jobs and skills reliant on the Energy Bill reforms and to get the Bill passed.