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Scottish government's commitment to climate under question after making cuts to its just transition fund

SNP-GREEN Scottish government cuts to its just transition fund put its sustainability in question, a group of MSPs have warned.

The fund aims to support a move in Moray and the north-east of Scotland away from its economic reliance on the oil and gas sector and into new greener industries, and was planned to be worth £500 million within 10 years.

But Holyrood’s economy & fair work committee has asked for clarity about the future sustainability of the fund after initial investments of £20m in its first year and £50m in its second were followed by just £12m in this year’s Scottish government budget: a 75 per cent cut.

Committee convener Labour’s Clare Baker said: “The north-east and Moray is home to Scotland’s oil and gas production.

“So it is vital for the workers and communities based there that the shift away from fossil fuels to renewables happens in a way that benefits local communities, businesses and jobs. This is a just transition.

“While there is clear ambition from the Scottish government to support the transition, with a 75 per cent budget decrease in the allocation for the just transition fund this year, it is less clear to the committee how the necessary support will be funded in practice and how communities will be able to stay actively involved.”

Addressing the committee’s concerns over allied cuts of 24 per cent to employability schemes and the suspension of the flexible workforce development fund, she said: “We have repeatedly highlighted the need to prioritise spending to support skills development to encourage business investment and create a workforce for the future.”

“Scotland needs more investment in its current and future workforce.”

The Scottish government was contacted for comment.

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