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Saudi Arabia of Wind? Where are the jobs?


Monday evening's City Development Committee saw a progress report on offshore wind and decommissioning.  Along with my Labour Group colleagues I sought to amend the report to call on the Scottish and UK Governments to put their rhetoric about the Saudi Arabia of wind into practice.


Last week it was made clear that the latest offshore wind plan 15 km off the coast will not be built in Scotland.

 

I am sure that we have all heard promises of Scotland or the UK being ‘the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind’ from voices not quite so disparate as Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson. 

 

The reality, of course,  is somewhat different.  All the bluff and bluster from the former First Minister and the current Prime Minister cannot hide the fact that their promises thus far appear to be so much hot air. 

 

The amendment which I put forward calls on officers to continue their important work in Forth and Tay Offshore to look to develop jobs in our region. 

 

I am very concerned that all the construction for the Neart Na Gaoithe offshore scheme will be done overseas.  Some of it in places where wages are low and workers rights not respected. 

 

We have all heard Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson speak about becoming the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables.'  My amendment calls on both governments to put this high blown rhetoric into practice – to prove that it is more than hot air. 

 

We need people in Scotland, in the Forth and Tay region and particularly in Dundee to benefit from a revolution in renewables.  We need a green industrial revolution which offers a just transition to workers.  What we have at the moment is the wholescale export of jobs. 


Unite the Union and the GMB have said that this is scandalous, let's ask both Governments to work with partners like Forth and Tay Offshore to end the scandal of exporting jobs and invest in jobs here in Scotland with hopefully, at the very least, supply chain work in Dundee.

 

Governments could do more.  It is galling to see that Neart Na Gaoithe is being promoting by companies owned by the French and Irish Government.  We have been told that our governments cannot operate like that.  Except perhaps at Prestwick Airport or Ferguson Shipbuilders.  There is a very interesting article on this in the National by George Kerevan encouraging the Scottish Government at least to ‘forget virtue signalling and support Scottish manufacturing’ 

 

I am pleased that the Committee agreed unanimously to write to the Scottish and the UK governments calling on them to deliver good quality jobs in the renewable sector for Scotland and for our city. 

 

I want to see good quality manufacturing jobs in Dundee and in the wider region.  I want to see local people benefit from the development of the renewable industry.


I hope that Dundee City Council officers are successful in making the case for renewables jobs to be based in Dundee.  We cannot continue to stand by as any hope of renewables jobs are exported.