finance

Sarwar calls for 'jobs first' green transition



Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Anas Sarwar has called for a “jobs first transition”.

Asked about the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ climate investment pledge and Scotland’s oil and gas sector, he told the BBC: “We hear a lot about a just transition, but there is no such thing as a just transition if it decimates entire communities and costs tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

“Many of those jobs [are] in the north-east of Scotland and beyond, so we’ve got to talk about a jobs first transition – the £28bn investment is one key part of that.”

At the party’s annual conference in Brighton, Reeves had earlier pledged an additional £28bn of capital investment for the UK’s green transition.

She told delegates: “I will invest in good jobs in the green industries of the future; Giga-factories to build batteries for electric vehicles; a thriving hydrogen industry; offshore wind with turbines made in Britain; planting trees and building flood defences; keeping homes warm and getting energy bills down; good new jobs in communities throughout Britain.”

Sarwar responded: “I think we still have more work to do in terms of making people see what those job opportunities are, because I think the risk that we have is that unless we put jobs at the heart of the climate emergency, we are going to risk repeating the mistakes that were made when we closed down the mining industry and whole communities were decimated as a result, we cannot allow that to happen.”

He added: “I want us to have the green revolution, I want us to address the climate emergency, I want us to lead from the front and be the beacon for the rest of the world – but we’ve got to do it in a way that takes communities with us and create jobs in the process.”

In a later speech to the conference, Sarwar said he did not underestimate the scale of the challenge his party faces in Scotland.

“We hear a lot about the red wall. The first red wall to fall was Scotland – and unless we rebuild there we won’t get a UK Labour Government,” he began, before moving onto green jobs again.

“In November, the eyes of the world will be on my home city of Glasgow for COP26 – we want the world to see a country united in the fight against climate change.

“That is why today I am announcing an Energy Transition Commission – led by former energy minister Brian Wilson – to help create a greener, fairer and more prosperous future.”

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