A union chief has slammed the UK Government’s flagship green recovery blueprint, describing it as “10 times too unambitious”.
David Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said that while the goals set out in the 10 Point Plan are attainable, they aren’t at the level needed for a just transition.
Giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) on Monday, he added that, under the STUC’s plans, the level of spending set out in the government’s proposals would only cover Scotland.
The proposals are designed to help transform the UK’s economy, encouraging the development and uptake of renewables to address climate change and deliver new low carbon jobs.
Contained within the 10 Point Plan are spending commitments totalling £12 billion, with hopes the private sector could more than treble that figure.
But despite the huge sums, Mr Moxham claims they still wane in comparison to the size of the challenge.
He said: “The investment levels, per job, don’t necessarily appear unrealistic to us. But being frank, it’s about 10 times too unambitious.
“We’ve put forward research from Transition Economics that suggests that the level of investment set out in the 10 Point Plan would do for Scotland alone – we don’t apologise for that level of ambition.
He added: “The sums and the estimates we agree with completely, we just don’t think the ambition is anywhere near what it needs to be if we’re going to hit targets in a way that will deliver the just transition.”
Ministers also heard from Bob MacGregor, a regional officer for Unite the Union Scotland, responsible for the Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab) yards.
Now owned and managed by InfraStrata, the facilities in Fife and Arnish have endured a torrid last year.
In December, BiFab fell into administration, prompted by the collapse of a deal to supply jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm.
And Mr MacGregor said it’s crucial the 10 Point Plan works to reinforce and grow Scotland’s renewables supply chain.
He said: “The ambition to attract private sector investment has to be linked – if contracts are being handed out then it needs to be delivering jobs on the ground in the UK.
“We’ve all been disappointed about what’s happened in the past about how things have unfolded, especially around offshore wind and the lack of work it supports domestically.
“I do think the proposals are a bit unambitious but any money that is spent needs to be focussed on bringing jobs to the UK, and well paid ones at that.”
MPs heard from the two union officials as part of the SAC’s inquiry into renewable energy in Scotland.
Last month, Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, gave evidence to the committee, during which she hit out at the current transmission charging system.