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SNP must detail its ‘dubious’ renewables jobs figure

14 Dec 2012

Murdo Fraser MSP

The SNP has admitted it has no idea how it gets to its figure of 11,000 people working in Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

The Scottish Conservatives asked the Scottish Government to explain where these jobs were, in an attempt to gain clarity on the matter following a row last month.

However, energy minister Fergus Ewing said the information was not held.

The figure of 11,000 is one provided by instead by lobby group Scottish Renewables.

The latest development comes a month after Alex Salmond said in an answer at First Minister’s Questions that there were in-fact 18,000 people working in the industry, something he was forced to subsequently correct.

Scottish Conservative MSPMurdo Fraser, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s energy committee, said:

“The Scottish Government has stuck by this figure provided by a pro-wind lobby group, and has now admitted it doesn’t have its own data.

“That makes this a dubious figure, and the SNP must explain at once how many jobs are supported by the renewables sector in Scotland, and where these jobs are.

“This could change the whole course of the Scottish Government’s argument.

“It has long said that its obsession with wind energy helps the economy – but that seems now to have been a guess as much as anything else.

“It is simply not acceptable for the Scottish Government to have repeated this figure as gospel – especially when the First Minister got it so spectacularly wrong himself.”