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SNP ‘trying to cook the books’ on green jobs target

The Scottish Government have missed their own targets for delivering on green jobs.
The Scottish Government have missed their own targets for delivering on green jobs.

The SNP has been accused of cooking the books by moving to widen the definition of what makes a green job in an attempt to hit targets.

The government pledged to create 130,000 low-carbon jobs by 2020 but delivered just 20,500, according to figures by the Office for National Statistics.

SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes previously told a Holyrood committee that a new target could be widened to include more industries.

This was followed by government minister Richard Lochhead confirming “work is ongoing within the Scottish Government to establish a broader measure of green jobs”.

But speaking at Holyrood, north-east Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said this would give a “distorted picture” on how the government is really performing on the creation of green jobs.

In response, the government minister for “green skills”, Lorna Slater, said the “discussion of what is a green job is an absolute live one”.

The Green MSP added: “It is fair to say that in the future all jobs will be green jobs.

“Tackling the climate crisis isn’t something that we can put in a box.

“Everybody needs to play their part all sectors need to play their part.

“Of course it’s useful to have a definition when we’re looking at planning training and when we’re planning investment, but I think it’s … absolutely appropriate that Scotland develops a definition of green jobs that is appropriate for our workforce and our industry here.”

‘Trying to cook the books’

ONS figures show 20,500 green jobs were created in 2020 but this has declined every year since 2016 when it was 24,000.

Mr Kerr said: “By any measure, the SNP have failed dismally at growing the number of offshore jobs in Scotland.

“It appears they are now trying to cook the books by changing the definition of what makes a green job.

North-east Conservative MSP Liam Kerr.

“The SNP and Greens will be hard-pressed to convince Scots they know better than statisticians.

“And as sure as night follows day, the SNP will try to claim parity with other parts of the UK who are using the standard definition.

“This is what the SNP do – they move the goalposts until they can say they scored a goal.”

In response to a parliamentary question, Mr Lochhead said the annual figures “relate to what may be considered a narrower definition of direct jobs in the UK low carbon and renewable energy economy”.

He added that the recent ScotWind leasing round for commercial-scale offshore wind projects “puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind and represents a huge step forward in our just transition to net zero”.

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