A LABOUR leadership contender has warned Aberdeen risks missing out on a green energy windfall unless the UK Government ends the “uncertainty” hanging over the industry.
Former energy minister Ed Miliband criticised the coalition government at Westminster yesterday as he arrived in the north-east to rally support in the final days of the race to lead the Labour Party.
He told the Press and Journal Europe’s energy capital would be able to cash in on millions of pounds of investment in renewable technology only if the government made sure it happens.
Mr Miliband’s remarks follow concerns that a £60million ports development fund, set up by the last Labour government to help areas capitalise on the business of building and servicing offshore windfarms and wave and tidal power schemes, could fall victim to spending cuts.
“The oil and gas industry is very important to Aberdeen and the whole country, and we need to build on that to get the new industries into Aberdeen,” he said.
“I think Aberdeen can be home to these industries but it does need a government who is willing and I do have to say I’m very worried by what the coalition government is doing.
“They haven’t yet said they’re going ahead with investment in ports to help the green industries of the future come to Britain.
“Overall they have sent a message of uncertainty to the green energy industry.
“We have got to be at the forefront of making it happen.”
Mr Miliband is just two weeks away from finding out if he has defeated his brother David in the battle to succeed former prime minister Gordon Brown as Labour leader.
He has said he wants the party to move forward from the New Labour era and spoke to 100 activists in Dundee yesterday, before travelling north to Aberdeen last night.
“I am very proud to be the only candidate to come to Aberdeen,” he said. “It is part of my wish to meet with party members wherever they are.
“I got an excellent response. We had 100 party members in Dundee.
“I have got nearly half of the MSPs supporting me and I think my campaign is going well across the country.”
Mr Miliband said next year’s Scottish Parliament elections would provide a key test of the party’s recovery since losing power at Westminster in May, with Labour seeking to oust Alex Salmond and the SNP from government in Holyrood.
“I think the Scottish elections are incredibly important,” he said.
“It will very much be led by Iain Gray and I will want to be part of that campaign.”