Holyrood

Other News

MSPs to hold energy supply inquiry

A Holyrood committee is to hold an inquiry into the security of Scotland’s energy supply in the wake of news that Longannet power station is likely to close prematurely. MSPs on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will take evidence on the UK electricity market with a focus on supply, demand and the transmission network. It follows the announcement that the troubled coal-fired plant in Fife will “in all likelihood” shut by March 2016 after losing out on a short-term National Grid contract. Operator Scottish Power said the station has been under pressure from higher transmission charges to connect to the grid due to its location.

Europe

Sturgeon: Back oil industry plans

The future of the North Sea oil industry has dominated clashes at Holyrood, with the First Minister urging opposition leaders to give their support to SNP proposals to help the industry in the wake of falling prices. Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all pressed Nicola Sturgeon on the impact that prices, which have now dropped below 50 US dollars (£32) a barrel, would have on both the industry and the country. Ms Sturgeon called for an end to “petty political point-scoring” at the same time as she criticised Labour MPs for backing Tory plans for a further round of austerity cuts in a vote at Westminster earlier this week.

Oil & Gas

Minister warns of oil jobs threat

The employment threat from the plunging oil price has produced the “the most serious jobs situation Scotland has faced in living memory” with urgent changes to the tax regime required, Holyrood’s Energy Minister said. Fergus Ewing demanded action from the UK Government as Energy Secretary Ed Davey was visiting Aberdeen to talk to leading figures in the North Sea oil and gas sector. With Chancellor George Osborne due to unveil his final budget before the election in March, Mr Davey suggested “we may well be able to have extra help for the North Sea”.

Other News

Fracking powers for Holyrood

Powers over fracking for shale gas are poised to become the first of the Smith Commission proposals to be devolved to Holyrood. Labour had insisted that there was no need to wait until after May’s general election to give MSPs extended responsibilities over fracking. The cross-party Smith Commission recommended the power transfer, but shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said the process should be fast-tracked.