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Ministers urged to give ‘real answers’ over oil and gas transition cash for north-east and Moray

The £500 million Just Transition Fund was announced last year.

SNP ministers have been challenged to set out how they will spend £500 million to help the north-east transition away from fossil fuels.

The Just Transition Fund was announced in the SNP-Green coalition’s programme for government in September, with the first £20 million committed in the budget for 2022-23.

But ministers have yet to outline the details behind the fund, prompting calls for “real answers” to be provided during a visit to the north-east this week.

Just Transition Minister Richard Lochhead and Trade Minister Ivan McKee are both expected to attend the Subsea Expo at Aberdeen’s P&J Live, which launches on Tuesday.

The visit will give industry figures the opportunity to tell ministers what they think the cash should be spent on to support the north-east and Moray in its transition.

Just Transition Fund

The Tories have repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to confirm how the fund will be used to support tens of thousands of jobs in the region.

Liam Kerr, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “A series of parliamentary questions to the government have yielded no concrete objectives or direction for the fund.

“I expect these ministers to turn up in Aberdeen and finally be in a position to give some real answers to stakeholders and the public, and show some direction.

North-east Conservative MSP, Liam Kerr.

“Because as it stands, there has been little engagement with the very industry that is going to lead the way to carbon net zero.

“Oil and gas supports tens of thousands of jobs in the north-east but employers and workers have seen nothing to reassure them that the SNP and Greens have considered their future.”

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing has also been critical of a “lack of detail” over the promised £20 million. 

The cash will be used to help identify “key projects” in the move away from reliance on fossil fuel jobs.

But there has been no clarity over what type of projects can benefit, with Ms Laing saying there is confusion about the money being only for new projects.

Around 3,000 attendees are expected to attend the Subsea Expo which runs from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Just Transition Minister, Richard Lochhead said securing a just transition for the north-east and Moray is a “priority” for the Scottish Government.

He added: “That’s why we announced a ten-year £500m Just Transition Fund, to accelerate the transition in the north-east and Moray, creating new opportunities across the region and contributing to its future prosperity.

“As this is a new financial commitment, its detail will be shaped through working alongside local authorities, business, workers and communities to drive maximum impact.

“This has already started, and engagement regarding the development of the fund will continue ahead of its launch in the upcoming financial year.”

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