Starmer’s oil ban ‘to cost every Scot £1,100’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s plan to block all new oil and gas explorations would cost the Scottish economy an estimated £6 billion by 2030, say the Scottish Tories.
The total figure is the equivalent of £1,100 for every person in Scotland.
Sir Keir is expected to set out his policy later this month, together with an ambition to invest in green technologies.
But he has already created concern within the oil and gas industry and in northeast Scotland in particular that it could devastate jobs and undermine the UK’s energy security.
The £6bn figure – highlighted by David Whitehouse, the chief executive of Offshore Energies UK – is based on the Scottish Government’s energy strategy report.
The SNP and Greens have a policy of “presumption against new oil and gas licences being awarded” but have no power to take such decisions which are reserved to Westminster.
Màiri McAllan, the Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, has indicated a softening in the SNP’s stance by saying energy security and thousands of jobs would be put at risk by a cliff-edge change, while Scottish Labour has also distanced itself from suggestions that Sir Keir would end oil and gas development before the transition to green energy was sufficiently advanced.
Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for net zero, energy and transport, used the Labour leader’s comments to describe Labour’s policy as “economically illiterate, short-sighted and a betrayal of the North East”, adding that only his party would stand up for the region and protect Scotland’s energy security.
He said: “Keir Starmer’s pledge to block all new oil and gas production would devastate communities across the North East and hammer every Scot to the tune of £1,100. I’m astonished that Anas Sarwar is happy to endorse it.
“We all want to see a just transition to net zero but it’s utterly reckless to turn off the taps in the North Sea immediately, especially when renewable sources don’t come close to meeting the country’s energy needs.
“Labour’s policy means, of course, we’d need to import oil and gas from overseas to meet our energy needs, which would increase our carbon footprint, as well as throwing tens of thousands of skilled workers under the bus.
“We already knew that the SNP and Greens had abandoned oil and gas workers but, as it’s the Westminster government who decide on granting new licences, it’s Keir Starmer and Labour who would deliver a hammer blow to Scotland’s economy if they won the next General Election.
“The public know that only the Scottish Conservatives will deliver a just transition to net zero that safeguards communities, jobs and Scotland’s energy security.”