Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles today said that the SNP need to take their head out of the sand on the economic challenges facing the North East as answers to Parliamentary Questions showed fewer than one in six energy workers who had registered interest in a £12 million flagship retraining scheme have received support.
The Scottish Government said that around 300 of more than 1900 people who had registered interest had received offers of support through the Transition Training Fund (TTF).
The answers also suggested that the Scottish Government do not know how many energy jobs have been lost in the region.
Commenting, Mr Rumbles said:
“There are very few people in Aberdeen and other parts of the North East who have been unaffected by the energy jobs crisis in one way or another. We need concrete action from the Scottish Government to help people find work. It is time that the SNP took their head out of the sand.
“The TTF was announced with a blaze of publicity but the hard truth is that money does not seem to be going where it is needed. It took months for a website to be set up to help people find information on the TTF and fewer than one in six of those contacting the scheme are getting the help they require. Meanwhile, we have seen North Sea decommissioning contracts awarded to companies outside of Scotland and businesses are warning of more job losses to come.
“The North East has been the engine of the Scottish economy for years. Now that things are more challenging, we need to see the Scottish Government do their job and support our local economy. It is staggering that Ministers do not even seem to have an estimate of the total number of job losses that we have seen in the North East. A hands off approach is the last thing we need.”
Notes to Editors:
In response from a written parliamentary question from Mr Rumbles on training schemes for energy workers, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said:
“The Transition Training Fund was announced by the First Minister on 1 February, which provides an opportunity for workers at risk of redundancy, or who have lost their jobs, from the oil & gas sector to retrain and redeploy. Since the Fund was announced, over 1,900 individuals have registered interest in the Fund, with over 300 individuals receiving offers of financial support for training courses from this group, thus far.”
Mr Rumbles also asked for a monthly breakdown of energy redundancies in the North East in each of the last six months. The response from Mr Wheelhouse stated:
“The Scottish Government continues to monitor the impact that low oil prices are having on the oil and gas industry and its wider supply chain, and the impact on the North East of Scotland in particular. Official redundancy figures are produced by the Office for National Statistics via the Labour Force Survey, however this source is based on a sample survey and it is not possible to reliably produce estimates for smaller geographic areas within Scotland or industry sectors.”