Pledges to support oil and gas decommissioning in the UK Conservative manifesto have been described as hammer blow to the industry.
Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to creating a world-class decommissioning sector to help protect north-east jobs.
But Callum McCaig, SNP candidate for Aberdeen South, argued the pledge showed the Conservatives were writing off the region’s industry.
He said: “The fact the only thing the Tories have to say about oil and gas in their manifesto is how they can best end it will come as a hammer blow to their chances in the north-east.
“Unlike the Tories, the SNP is not writing off the oil and gas industry. Instead we want to encourage it to thrive by introducing new incentives for exploration, loan guarantees and support for diversification into renewables.”
Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine Andrew Bowie defended the pledge, which he pointed out came on top of £211.3bn tax cuts in the last three years.
He added: “I welcome this manifesto commitment to continue to support the sector, which supports so many jobs in the Aberdeenshire area and hugely benefits the wider UK economy.”
Meanwhile, north-east MSP Lewis Macdonald, Labour, said support for those affected by the oil downturn via the energy jobs taskforce must not be downgraded.
The taskforce has been meeting monthly to help those made redundant to find new work – but the Scottish Government has announced meetings will only be held every three months in future.
Mr Macdonald said: “Nobody who lives in the north-east would say the energy jobs taskforce has finished its work.
“Employees are still being made redundant from the oil and gas industry and associated sectors.”
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