The UK Government’s plan for a green industrial revolution would only “do for Scotland alone” and needs to be “10 times more ambitious”, union leaders have said.
Current renewable plans from the Westminster and devolved Scottish governments show a “lack of ambition of scale”, a “lack of recognition of urgency” and “too little emphasis… on the direct role of the public sector”, said Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).
Mr Moxham, giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee on Monday, also said the UK Government’s “10-point plan for a green industrial revolution” is “10 times too unambitious”.
The document, published last November, sets out aims to “invest in making the UK a global leader in green technologies” by “mobilising £12 billion of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs”.
Mr Moxham said: “I’m just going to stick it out there, it’s 10 times too unambitious.
“We have put forward research from Transition Economics that suggests that sort of level of investment would do for Scotland alone. We don’t apologise for that level of ambition.
“We would like to see it 10 times as ambitious.”
Asked about the UK Government’s Build Back Better project to support economic growth, Mr Moxham added: “If you read the argumentation for these kind of projects and Government investments they make all the right noises in terms of what the effect of that investment is… they employ Keynesian arguments, but they don’t do the logic of that which is: spend 10 times as much.
“And I really mean 10 times as much.”
Bob MacGregor, national officer for Unite the Union, said any contracts “need to deliver jobs on the ground in the UK”.
He said: “We’re looking for investment in infrastructure and not importing it: make it here, build it here, use it here.
“The opportunities are massive if the investment is put into the renewable sector. Any public money being spent, there needs to be conditions that the majority of it is constructed in the UK.
“These companies are getting these contracts, making them halfway round the world, and floating them around on these big ships, damaging the planet, when we should have the supply chain in the UK.
“At the end of the day it’s the public that are buying the electricity that are paying for these projects. It’s the future cost of electricity that’s making these projects get done.
“The public are paying for it, the public should benefit from it with jobs, good quality jobs in the UK, on the shores of Scotland, because we will be staring off our shorelines looking at these wind projects for the rest of our lives.”
Under current plans, Scotland is aiming to become a net-zero society by 2045 – five years before the rest of the UK.