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Forbes may redefine ‘green job’ after target missed

Kate Forbes: new measurement

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the government may re-define a “green job” after an MSP demanded an explanation as to why the government had failed to hit its target.

The SNP said it would create 130,000 jobs in the low carbon economy by 2020, but recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only 20,500 green jobs were created.

During questions on the 10-year economic strategy by members of Holyrood’s economy committee, Labour MSP Colin Smyth challenged Ms Forbes’ about the shortfall and her assertion that Scotland was leading the way on renewables.

“I’m keen to know why you think we’re leading the way if we are so far behind what your government’s target was for renewable jobs,” he said. “And what is your new target for renewable jobs if the 130,000 target is so far off the mark in terms of delivery?” 

Ms Forbes replied that there were “very narrow ways of measuring green jobs” and the government was doing “quite a lot of work” on a more meaningful measurement.

“There’s a lot of jobs that are being established and created in a number of different industries that you could classify very much as green jobs,” she told the committee.

Mr Smyth, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Net Zero, Energy, Transport and Rural Affairs, said: “It would certainly take a leap to go from 20,500 to 130,000 just by changing the definition, but I would be keen to hear  in the future what the government’s target actually is, however you define it.”

Ms Forbes also admitted that admitted that scaling up businesses and resolving labour shortages were proving to be major challenges, and that it was a partly because of the Scottish Government’s lack of power and control over issues that others had at their disposal.

She mentioned economic levers such as monetary and fiscal powers that are currently reserved to Westminster.

Ms Forbes said the technology adviser Mark Logan had suggested the government offer visas to attract technology specialists from abroad. But the UK government had not shown interest for sector specific visas, she said.

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