State power pledge ‘missing’ from SNP-Green plans
Ian Murray: ‘more broken promises from SNP’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Labour has reminded the new SNP-Green Scottish government that their joint policy statement overlooked an earlier promise by the First Minister to create a state-owned energy company.
Nicola Sturgeon made the pledge at the SNP conference in 2017, but has since said little about it.
In June this year, Green co-leader and now government minister Lorna Slater criticised Ms Sturgeon for not moving fast enough on the plan.
But Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said it was not mentioned in the SNP and Scottish Green’s 50-page partnership agreement document published last week.
Mr Murray said that in the nearly four years since Ms Sturgeon made her announcement the project has not got beyond the business case stage.
Mr Murray made his comments on a visit to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, which is producing world-leading research into tidal energy.
He said: “It’s astonishing there is not a single mention of a public energy company in the SNP and Green coalition agreement. It adds to an ever-increasing list of broken promises from the Scottish Government.
“Scottish Labour has continually been calling for the proposed company to move beyond the paper stage so that it can start supporting the development of renewable energy in Scotland.
“I have seen first-hand the incredible technology at use at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney – with COP26 around the corner Scotland can lead the world on developing tidal energy with the right investment and support.
“It is absolutely vital that Scotland doesn’t lose its edge in tidal energy due to SNP and Green inaction. Nicola Sturgeon and her Green partners must live up to their promises and deliver a new public energy company.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Work on a planned public energy company was halted during the pandemic.
“As announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in June, ministers will now focus government efforts on a new dedicated national public energy agency.
“This will coordinate and accelerate delivery of heat and energy efficiency work, inform and educate the public on the changes required, provide expert advice to national and local government, and work with public, private and third sector partners to deliver this transformative national project.
“Further details will be set out to Parliament in due course.”