SNP Energy and Climate Change spokesperson Mike Weir MP this morning pressed the Coalition Government over the immediate release of Scotland’s Fossil Fuel Levy.
Mr Weir called on the government to release the fund without delay for investment in green energy and jobs, highlighting a specific commitment set out in the Lib-Dem’s 2010 pre-election manifesto (pp 92-93) which said: “We will restore revenue to Scotland from Scottish money paid to OFGEM under the Fossil Fuel Levy as one off payments in the 2011 budget and give control of future revenues to the Scottish Government. This will likely lead to an increase in resources for Scotland of around £250 million in 2011-12.”
Speaking after the exchange, Mr Weir said:
“Industry leaders from across Scotland have recognised the urgency of securing investment in the Scottish renewables sector. The UK Government must act without delay and release the Fossil Fuel Levy to support investment in Scotland’s green energy revolution.
“While the idea of a Green Investment Bank is laudable, the UK Government’s plans are still without a timescale, business plan or funding model. Scotland’s renewables industry simply cannot wait while these things are devised.
“Scotland has already witnessed the damage dithering by the UK Government can cause. In 2008, the carbon capture storage project at Peterhead lost out to Abu Dhabi – a huge setback to the renewables progress in Scotland.”
Mr Weir also contrasted the approach taken by the Scottish Government with limited action taken by UK Ministers. Mr Weir added:
“The announcement by the First Minister of a £70milion fund to help ports and renewable industries in Scotland compared to the measly £60million pledged by the coalition for the rest of the UK shows the depth of the commitment of the SNP Scottish Government to realising the vision of a green sustainable economy. The Fossil Fuel money could provide an additional substantial boost to renewable investment in Scotland, creating thousands of new jobs.
“By withholding investment at this crucial stage in the sector’s development, the Tories and LibDems are putting thousands of Scottish jobs at risk.
“The Tories and LibDems came to office pledging a ‘respect’ agenda towards Scotland. Their behaviour thus far over the Fossil Fuel Levy has failed to meet that standard. For the sake of jobs and investment in the Scottish economy, they have to make good on their word.”