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Firms must meet net zero condition for SE support

Scottish Enterprise will support green jobs

Companies will be required to demonstrate a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and fair work in order to qualify for financial support from Scottish Enterprise.

The agency revealed the condition as it announced plans to invest £400 million over the next year in a ‘green recovery’ from the Covid-19 crisis.

Unveiling its latest business plan, SE said it will be seeking to secure “good jobs, green jobs and jobs that can improve the health and wealth of the nation”.

But it added that “businesses will be required to demonstrate their commitment to net zero and fair work as part of accessing Scottish Enterprise support”.

Interim chief executive Linda Hanna, who has been leading the agency since Steve Dunlop left last October, said: “There is no doubt that the events of the past year have created significant challenges for our economy.

Linda Hanna

Linda Hanna: ‘reshaping our economy’

“Alongside our partners, we’ve been working hard to respond to the needs of Scottish businesses, while at the same time, focusing on the long-term goals of a greener and fairer successful Scottish economy.

“As we continue to feel the impact from the pandemic and Brexit, Scotland’s unemployment levels are expected to rise. That’s why our plan for the year focuses on working with businesses and industry to safeguard and create jobs. Good jobs, green jobs and jobs that can improve the health and wealth of the nation simultaneously.”

Key measures to be delivered in the coming year include up to:

  • 10,500 planned jobs paying at least the real living wage, including green jobs 
  • £425m planned R&D investment by businesses/projects 
  • £360m planned capital investment by businesses/projects 
  • £230m growth funding raised by businesses 
  • 1bn planned international exports 
  • 240k tonnes estimated CO2 savings by businesses/projects  

Ms Hanna added: “Jobs for the future are equally as important as those for today. We have an opportunity to reshape our economy so that post-pandemic Scotland flourishes with industries that are globally competitive and sustainable for generations to come.

“Our plan aims to help harness the economic potential of digital, net zero, health and advanced manufacturing and we will be doing all we can to maximise opportunities like COP26, both in terms of accelerating our transition to a net-zero economy and in opening up global market opportunities for Scottish businesses.

“We know there are challenging times ahead. Scotland’s economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 but now is the time to look to the future with hope and ambition as we grow a fairer, greener Scotland for all.”

The statement came amid speculation that the government has two candidates under consideration as full-time CEO.

The UK government today announced a £166.5 million cash injection into green technologies.

The investment, awarded to innovators, businesses, academics and heavy industry across the UK, aims to accelerate the delivery of the critical game-changing technologies needed to further drive Britain’s climate change ambitions, while creating over 60,000 jobs across the UK.

The package is focused on developing technologies in carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen, while also helping find solutions to decarbonise the UK’s polluting sectors including manufacturing, steel, energy and waste. 

Comment: Green targets risk becoming green barriers

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