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Sturgeon pledges commitment to renewables businesses in Scotland

The SNP leader responded to Labour counterpart Richard Leonard’s plea at FMQs for the Scottish Government to stand by BiFab workers.

The First Minister said ‘Bifab would no longer exist right now but for the action the Scottish Government took’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The First Minister said ‘Bifab would no longer exist right now but for the action the Scottish Government took’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Scottish Government will do everything in its power to ensure businesses in the renewables sector flourish in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

At First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for the Government to stand by the workers of Bifab construction yards in Fife, with fears over the work being moved overseas.

Campaigners have urged EDF Renewables to scrap its reported plans to award a lucrative construction contract to an Indonesian firm for work on a £2 billion wind farm project in the Firth of Forth.

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Richard Leonard urged Nicola Sturgeon to send a clear message to EDF (Jane Barlow/PA)

It is estimated such a move could mean the creation of only 60 jobs in Scotland at the company’s Edinburgh office rather than more than 1,000 jobs for the local Fife community.

Mr Leonard said: “According to the Scottish TUC, the transportation alone of these structures from south-east Asia would generate carbon emissions equivalent  to an extra 35 million cars on the road.

“And we are in a climate emergency. So what will the First Minister do to send a clear message to EDF, that if it wishes to be part of Scotland’s renewables future it must stand by the promises made to the workers and the communities of Fife?”

Ms Sturgeon responded: “The Scottish Government sends a very clear message to all companies getting contracts like this that we want to see Scotland treated fairly and that message is unequivocal.

“As I’m sure Richard Leonard will appreciate, it would not be helpful to anybody for me to comment further on the detail of negotiations and decisions that are ongoing.

“But the Scottish Government is acting here.”

She added: “We will continue to work with the unions and others, also with the UK Government.

“Unfortunately,  not all of the levers over this lie within our hands.

“But the Scottish Government took the action that we took to save Bifab because we do want to see it have a positive, prosperous future and we’re determined to do everything we can to ensure that is the case.”

Ms Sturgeon also urged parties at Holyrood to come together to address the issue.

“The Scottish Government should be judged in our actions over Bifab,” she said.

“Bifab would no longer exist right now but for the action the Scottish Government took.

“The Scottish Government of course has a financial stake on behalf of the taxpayer in Bifab.

“We will do everything within our power – we are already taking action in terms of the discussions at the summit and we will work with anybody to make sure Bifab and other businesses in the renewables sector in Scotland flourish in the way that I think they’ve got every reason to expect to do.”

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