SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is in the north-east ahead of next month’s council election as she offers support to trade unions in the planned “just transition” to greener energy future.
The first minister confirmed the Scottish Government will invest a £100,000 grant as the region moves away from fossil fuels.
The announcement is timed to coincide with the Scottish Trades Union Congress which is taking place in the city.
Ms Sturgeon said she wants unions to help “influence and shape” the government’s just transition going forward.
SNP ministers want Scotland to move away from oil and gas to meet environmental targets as they focus on renewables instead.
But rivals have criticised them with accusations they are abandoning the north-east.
The Scottish Government confirmed in March that their just transition plan was to be delayed.
And North Sea workers have told the SNP they lacked support for the switch to renewables.
‘Fundamental to our policy’
The first minister said: “I’m glad to be able to confirm today that we are providing the STUC with annual funding of £100,000, to cover STUC staffing costs for officials who can liaise with workers and government.
“The unions – through the creation of the Just Transition Commission – have already been fundamental to our policy thinking about a just transition.
“The Scottish Government economic strategy rests on the idea that by delivering a just transition – we can help people to fulfil their potential and to contribute to our economy and our society.”
Ms Sturgeon will also join SNP election candidates in Aberdeen during her visit as she urged voters to “send a message” to the Tories on May 5.
The SNP leader claimed that Tory councillors in Aberdeen are primarily interested in “protecting” Boris Johnson.
‘Chance to send a clear message’
She said: “People in the north-east have been abandoned by the Tories time and again.
“These council elections are a chance for people across the north-east to send a clear message to the Tories – that they will not stand for it.
“The future for the north-east is bright, and I am proud that we are putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to ensuring a Just Transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.”
Tory MSP Liam Kerr said: “Nicola Sturgeon has some cheek claiming the out-of-touch SNP are a friend of either the north-east or hard-pressed Scottish households.
“Renewable energy is vitally important but can’t plug the gap on its own.
“The SNP-Green coalition are utterly blinkered to ramping up domestic energy production, while casually threatening tens of thousands of jobs here.
“So the nationalists’ policies threaten to make bills go up even higher.”
Fellow Conservative MSP David Duguid added: “The SNP’s £500m so-called just transition fund has delivered nothing bar empty words.
“Challenged repeatedly by Scottish Conservatives at Westminster and Holyrood, they have been unable to show industry any benefit.
“In contrast, the North Sea Transition Deal, negotiated by the UK Government in tandem with the industry, is worth £16 billion-plus and is already shaping the energy transition and the net-zero North Sea of the future.”