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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 29 September 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Scottish Budget Update, Topical Question Time, Complaints against MSPs (Committee Bill Proposal), Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill, Sentencing Bill, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Mossmorran (Just Transition)


Contents


Mossmorran (Just Transition)

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-22764, in the name of Mark Ruskell, on a just transition for Mossmorran. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament notes the calls for the creation of a Just Transition board for the gas processing complex at Mossmorran in Fife; understands that the combined plants at the site are among the biggest industrial emitters of CO2 in Scotland; notes the view that reducing the emissions from the plant will be central to meeting Scotland’s target of net-zero emissions by 2045; welcomes the announcement that a Future Industries Board is to be created for the Grangemouth complex to support a Just Transition for workers and the local community there; understands that the future of the Mossmorran facility is similarly tied in with the North Sea Oil network, and notes the view that a detailed plan will be needed to support workers and the local community to transition to new green industries; recognises the work of the local Mossmorran Action Group and campaigners from Climate Camp Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland in highlighting the environmental and social impacts of the plant, and notes the calls on the Scottish Government to meet with all stakeholders to discuss the creation of a Just Transition board for Mossmorran.

17:03  

I thank the members who signed my motion and those who are taking part, online or in the chamber, in the debate tonight.

When I was first elected to Parliament in 2003, a debate like this would have been—to be frank—unthinkable. Industrial plants such as Mossmorran and Longannet were permanent cogs in our economy, and the concept of a just transition was largely unknown and undiscussed, while climate change was still considered to be a very distant threat.

However, times change, and it is impossible to ignore the fact that Mossmorran remains one of the top three carbon emitters in Scotland and an integral part of an oil and gas sector that is the world’s biggest climate threat. We cannot ignore the science that tells us that four fifths of oil and gas reserves must remain in the ground if we are to have any chance of preventing an irreversible climate emergency.

That is the global context, but the local context is changing too. At the outset, in the 1970s, there was fierce community opposition to Mossmorran, but in later years critical voices were taken less seriously. However, in recent years, there has been renewed concern from communities that are living in misery as a result of the noise and light pollution from the plant. I welcome in particular the role that the Mossmorran Action Group, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Climate Camp Scotland have played in amplifying many of those community voices.

I also welcome the recent news that the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay community and safety committee is to be revitalised and its remit broadened to address the on-going lack of trust between the local community, the plant operators and the regulators. That is long overdue.

It is not too early to move the debate on from flaring to the future of the plant and the need for a just transition, but I worry that it could become too late. We have to learn the lessons of the past. Fife coal-mining communities were betrayed in the 1980s, and that legacy lives on today. There was no just transition, and workers and whole communities were left behind.

Longannet shut in 2016, but it had been known for years that change was coming and there was a window for the Government, the workforce, the operator and the community to plan for transition. However, just as with the coal-mining industry in the 80s, there was no transition. Politicians pretended that Longannet could continue to be run into the ground for years to come, while time slipped away. The subsequent Longannet task force also failed to create a lasting positive legacy for Kincardine and surrounding communities.

However, years later, an exciting vision for west Fife is finally emerging at Longannet. There are concrete opportunities and the start of what we could call a green new deal, with the electric train manufacturer Talgo set to create 1,000 jobs and anchor in a new hub for electric transport innovation; an environmental solution in place for the ash pans; and a passenger and freight rail route running from Alloa to Longannet and then—it is hoped—all the way to Dunfermline. Those are all economic opportunities that could come thick and fast.

We need to see the closure of Mossmorran, whenever that may be, as an opportunity to pull people across into new jobs that have a strong long-term future. We need an industrial strategy for Fife that puts investment in low-carbon jobs as a top priority. Those jobs have to be fair, which is why unions and their workforces need to lead the discussions about union recognition, sectoral bargaining and industrial ownership.

Jobs in clean energy could exceed those in oil and gas threefold, but words are not enough, and communities need to see action. In recent years, I have heard of workers at BiFab actually moving to Mossmorran. That cannot be sustainable in the long term, but the delays in making offshore wind-farm subsidies and leases conditional on jobs coming to Fife are making workers—quite rightly—angry. They need to see concrete progress in securing Fife as a major hub for the offshore wind industry, and they need to see it fast.

I welcome the establishment of a just transition board for Grangemouth, and I hope that the Government can confirm—perhaps even tonight—that a board will be in place for Mossmorran, with a broad remit to consider all options for the future of the complex and the people whom it supports.

Nonetheless, I am wary that the concept of just transition is being captured by the oil and gas sector as meaning maximum extraction with some wind-powered oil rigs on the side. That simply will not cut it. It will not deal with the climate emergency: the reality is that current North Sea reserves of 5.4 billion barrels of oil and gas already exceed the United Kingdom’s carbon share of the Paris climate agreement, and industry plans to extend that to 20 billion barrels will fry the climate. Those irresponsible plans, which are wholly supported by Governments, leave workers potentially facing the rapid collapse of their sector, as the need for action to cut emissions will inevitably intensify in the difficult years ahead.

The oil and gas strategy appears to be based on the idea of a deferred collapse, which would push communities that are dependent on the sector over the cliff edge. That is why we need a managed transition that stays within the limits that were set by the Paris agreement.

I welcome the publication today of the report “OFFSHORE: Oil and gas workers’ views on industry conditions and the energy transition”, which is an extensive survey of workers in the oil and gas sector by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace and Platform. It shows that morale is low, with the biggest concern by far being long-term job security. However, it also shows that there is a high level of willingness to retrain, with more than 81 per cent of workers saying that they would consider moving to a job outside the oil and gas industry. We cannot provide those workers with long-term job security by turning a blind eye and continuing to prop up North Sea oil and gas, but we can provide them and their families with a future by starting the planning now for a just transition at sites such as Mossmorran.

There are those who try to reconcile maximum extraction of oil and gas with climate change, believing that carbon capture and storage will allow for the production of hydrogen from natural gas while storing carbon underground. However, despite receiving billions of pounds in financial support over the past decade, CCS remains largely unproven and untested at scale. As a heating fuel, hydrogen can only be blended with natural gas at a tiny 20 per cent in the grid, so we will end up locking in natural gas at a time when we need total decarbonisation of our heating.

With regard to the use of CCS downstream at Mossmorran, neither of the operators has plans to capture the vast amounts of carbon that the plants emit at source. Decarbonisation of heating should be a massive opportunity to grow new industries to replace dying ones. Skilled industrial engineers who are currently working at Mossmorran could be in the vanguard of a vast heat-pump and district heating sector in the UK, replacing our dependence on natural gas for good.

None of those opportunities will be realised by accident. The time to start planning the just transition is now in order to ensure that no workers are left behind, that no communities are left with a degraded environment and that we can live within the limits of our planet. That journey should start today, with the setting up of a just transition board for Mossmorran.

17:12  

I am pleased to speak in the debate on a just transition for Mossmorran, and I congratulate Mark Ruskell on bringing it to the chamber. As the MSP for the constituency of Cowdenbeath, I have, over the years, had considerable involvement on behalf of my constituents in issues relating to Mossmorran.

At the outset, I recognise the commendable efforts of my constituents to have their voices heard on this important matter. Through their hard work and determination, they have arguably forced a veritable volte-face on the part of not only the operators, but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Fife Council and NHS Fife in respect of the way in which those organisations deal with the plant, communicate with local communities and address their concerns.

Of course, many key issues are of on-going concern. However, it is fair to note that there have been some positive and welcome changes, one of which has involved SEPA taking a far more proactive role in its approach to discharging its regulatory responsibilities. That can be witnessed, for example, in its submission of a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on the April 2013 elevated flaring incident. I am also aware that more recent incidents are the subject of on-going investigations.

Further to my most recent telephone conference with SEPA on Friday last, I note that it has issued a variation-of-permit notice that limits the extension of the deadline for the installation by ExxonMobil of noise-reducing flare tips to May 2021, taking into account the global pandemic within which we are all currently operating.

I also take the opportunity to welcome the revamping of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay community and safety committee, which is something that I have called for. The committee met for the first time in its new form last Thursday. The revamp is a result of the community pressure that has been brought to bear.

Some of the features of that new approach are as follows: the chair will be drawn from the community; the Health and Safety Executive is to be a member; and expert advisory groups are to be set up to look at air quality and at noise, light and vibration pollution. In addition, there is to be enhanced communication with the local community, and—helpfully—Fife Council is to provide the secretariat.

However, it is fair to say that the significant disruption to my constituents’ peaceful enjoyment of their lives over the years has led to an increasing desire on the part of many, although by no means all, of them to see an end to the plant in sight.

While many—again, by no means all—of my constituents accept that it would not be possible to turn off the tap tomorrow, they wish to know what the longer-term plans for the site are. They are, of course, mindful that we are currently in the midst of the Covid-19 global crisis, and mindful of its impact on jobs and the economy in my constituency and across Fife, Scotland, the rest of the UK and the world.

On 1 September, I wrote to the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, to call for a transition arrangement for Mossmorran that is similar to what is proposed for the Grangemouth complex. That would reflect the need to do what is necessary to secure Scotland’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045, while at the same time leaving no workers or communities behind. If a future transition board can be established for Grangemouth to support a just transition for workers and for the local communities that would be affected, why not for Mossmorran?

In the minister’s reply to my letter, he recognises that the Mossmorran site is an important asset for Scotland’s energy infrastructure and a key player in the Fife economy. It is therefore vital that, in the on-going work towards 2045 and the achievement of our net zero target, Mossmorran is kept in the frame and its workers and community representatives are involved in the just transition process. I understand that the process is to be formulated in more detail following the final report of the just transition commission, which is expected to be published in March 2021.

I look forward to hearing the minister’s comments on those points.

17:17  

I am pleased to be able to take part in tonight’s debate on a just transition for Mossmorran, and I pay tribute to Mark Ruskell for ensuring that it takes place.

The issue of Mossmorran is incredibly important for neighbouring residents, for Fife and for Scotland as a whole. Members on all sides of the chamber are committed to meeting the target of net zero emissions by 2045, which necessitates consideration of how gas processing complexes will be managed in the future. As Mark Ruskell did, I welcome the announcement of a future industries board for the Grangemouth complex, and I agree that a similar transition board should—and must—be considered for the Mossmorran site.

In recent years, there have been an unprecedented number of unscheduled flaring incidents at Mossmorran. Residents have reported that those flarings have occurred at antisocial times of day, causing noise pollution, light pollution and vibrations in their homes. Many of them have suffered from sleep deprivation, headaches or migraines, breathing difficulties, skin rashes and irritation of the eyes and throat, and there are high levels of anxiety whenever there is a flaring incident at the complex.

I pay tribute to the Mossmorran Action Group, whose members have worked tirelessly in the background to bring the issues to the fore. I also welcome the reinvigoration of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay community and safety committee, which is a good move for the people concerned.

ExxonMobil says that it is going to invest £140 million in the plant, and that it will install noise-reducing elevated flare tips. That is to be welcomed, but once again it has been delayed, and the work will not begin until April 2021. Notwithstanding the delay, that is a welcome development, but it will not solve the problem. The operators of the site have to communicate better with the community, because that has been a major issue during the time I have been actively involved with Mossmorran, since I became an MSP.

As far as the residents are concerned, there are faults on many sides. The see not only the site itself as a problem: they also see the Scottish Government, Fife Council, SEPA and—at times—the national health service all pointing the finger of responsibility at each other for failing to address the issues. Many people have felt very frustrated, and over the past three or four years I have attended lively public meetings in the area, as have other members who have spoken tonight. Those meetings have been a tribute to the community, which has stood up to the plant and to the management, because the people want answers.

A just transition may be a long-term solution, but we need to face now the issues that are arising and what is happening in the local community.

Last year, Fife Council suggested a way forward, when councillors, except the nationalists, voted to have the Scottish Government commission an independent expert study of the environmental, social and health impacts on the community of the operations at Mossmorran. That would have gone a long way towards addressing many local concerns, so I call on the Scottish Government to reconsider its position on commissioning such a study. I look forward to the minister perhaps making an announcement on that in her speech.

Whenever the transition takes place, we must not forget the possible economic implications. We cannot take away from the fact that Mossmorran provides employment opportunities for people in Fife and the surrounding area. Local residents rely on the jobs to support themselves and their families.

Therefore, we need to ensure that any transition to different operating models or greener industries still provides good jobs.

Would the member and his party back the establishment of a just transition board for Mossmorran?

As I have already said, Grangemouth is getting one and I believe that that is what Mossmorran should have. That is the right thing to happen in order to support the communities.

Labour’s amendment talks about engagement with the trade unions; that is sensible and pragmatic and I agree with it.

In conclusion, I support the principle of establishing a just transition board for the site at Mossmorran to help in our efforts to achieve our net zero emissions target by 2045. Moreover, in the short term, we need greater action from the Scottish Government and the operators at Mossmorran to address the immediate and long-term environmental, social and health impacts of the operations on the local community and area.

17:21  

I am pleased to speak in debate on the call for a just transition board for Mossmorran. I have spoken about the issues surrounding Mossmorran petrochemical plant for many years. Indeed, in June 2018, I held a members’ business debate on the increase in flaring and the associated safety worries.

During that debate, I made the point that I was a teenager when planning permission was first sought for Mossmorran and work began, and my family members had jobs there. The view that was sold to the communities at that time was that many jobs could be created—not just in construction of the site, but in the wider local economy, because downstream work would follow, as well as spin-off opportunities in industries including agriculture. However, that did not happen. We now know that although many jobs were created, the increase that was promised was never achieved.

The greatest concern for those of us who live in the communities that surround the site is safety. The question is continually asked: is the site safe? With the actions that SEPA has taken, the safety issue is now on-going.

However, today’s debate is not about the safety of the site, but about a just transition. When we are talking about a just transition board for the plant, we have to focus on the jobs aspect. That is why I lodged an amendment to the motion that we are debating today. In my amendment, I make the point that

“the trade unions, Unite and GMB, have hundreds of members employed on both the Shell and Exxon sites”

and that, therefore,

“they should be fully involved in any discussions on the future of the sites and on would-be members of any Just Transition board that was established.”

I hope that all those who are concerned with any form of just transition accept that workers are a key part of the discussion. After all, their jobs are at stake. Understandably, workers with homes, mortgages, rents and families will be concerned when any discussion of their jobs is had, here or anywhere else. Ensuring that trade unions and workers themselves are an integral part of the discussions should be a priority.

Only today, a report by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace and Platform, “OFFSHORE: Oil and gas workers’ views on industry conditions and the energy transition”, showed that significant barriers are preventing workers from making the transition from jobs in oil and gas to jobs in renewables. A key takeaway from the report—which I think Mark Ruskell mentioned—is the need for far more engagement with workers if there is to be a just transition away from fossil fuels that does not penalise the workforce.

Friends of the Earth Scotland, which was quoted on the BBC today, said:

“Despite the Scottish Government’s rhetoric, the idea of a just transition has failed to reach the overwhelming majority of the workers who will be most directly impacted. Workers’ voices must be at the centre of that transition process. The government must ensure oil and gas workers are supported into secure and sustainable jobs.”

Among the main concerns of the workforce who were surveyed was the fact that there are limited opportunities for workers, because retraining is too expensive and is a barrier. Given that context, the Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure that the new green jobs of the future are created and made available for workers to transition into.

However, the Scottish Trades Union Congress published a report in June that showed that employment in Scotland’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy flatlined between 2014 and 2018. Despite promises that by 2020 some 130,000 people would be directly employed in the renewables sector, the figure in 2018 was only 23,000. That figure speaks for itself. I am sure that members understand why workers are concerned when politicians stand up and talk about the new green revolution and new green jobs that have not yet materialised.

We need to address those issues. We must address the mistake of privatisation of our natural resources and we must not allow the same thing to happen again. That is a major criticism. At a time when we must ensure that the renewables sector works, first and foremost, for Scotland and for the people of Scotland, we need a far greater say in how those industries develop.

17:27  

I thank Mark Ruskell MSP for the motion that brings this important debate to the Parliament, and I thank my colleague Alex Rowley MSP for lodging a strengthening amendment to the motion.

Scottish Labour has been unwaveringly committed to a just transition for Scotland. We understand that stringent emissions reduction targets are necessary, and that justice and strategy must be inextricably woven into delivering on those targets.

I welcome calls for a just transition board for Mossmorran and commend Mark Ruskell for calling for that in the debate.

More state intervention is required—no ifs, no buts. Unions that represent workers at sites are airing their scepticism about a just transition, as we heard from Alex Rowley. Workers have seen jobs being lost to overseas companies—sometimes to companies that have exploitative conditions—and the Scottish Government often shies away from a robust industrial strategy or legislative assurance for the future.

A statutory, long-term, independent just transition board could provide the oversight that is needed if we are to avoid the patchwork approach whereby, for instance, there is progress for Grangemouth but a need for a campaign for Mossmorran.

I value the work of the Scottish Government’s just transition commission, but its short life span is unjustifiable and I fear that the commission will not have time to guide the unprecedented step change and strategy that will be needed for a just transition that values the existing skills of our workforce, preserves and creates quality jobs and seeks to decarbonise all sectors in the move to net zero.

The debate has recognised that the Exxon and Shell sites at Mossmorran are significant employers. Those workers and communities are owed a just transition, particularly as part of a green recovery from a globally worrying time. That is why my colleague Alex Rowley, the member for Mid Scotland and Fife, has lodged an amendment to the motion. It stipulates that the representing unions, Unite and the GMB, and their memberships, must be included in discussions on the future of the site and on the establishment and in the membership of a just transition board.

I welcome the Grangemouth future industry board and hope that the cabinet secretary can agree that the same consideration must be offered to those workers as to workers in Fife. The same concerns about membership exist here. The programme for government says that the board is to include Scottish Government representatives, agencies, Falkirk Council and businesses that have an interest. Where are the unions and the workers’ voices?

Labour colleagues are trying to put across the message that it is vital to address the transformation through the perspectives of the communities that are most affected. That representation is particularly important, given the disruption caused by flaring and the other worrying issues that are faced by local communities and that we have heard about in the debate. The communities have endured those problems for far too long.

Along with my Fife colleagues, and as a member for South Scotland, I know only too well the pain left behind by Government’s failure to manage a transition. The 2020 report by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust shows that former mining communities still experience high rates of child poverty and unemployment and lower life expectancy and are among the country’s most deprived communities. That is a compelling call for action for a just transition, as well as for the need to correct past mistakes.

The report by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace and Platform on offshore oil and gas workers and their future lays bare the resounding failure to engage with those workers on the notion of a just transition. Of the respondents to the report, 91 per cent had not heard the term “just transition”. What does that tell us? The Government, and all of us in Parliament, must do better.

It is time for the Scottish Government to show, not tell. Enabling Scotland’s wider shift to net zero will require infrastructure projects on a mass scale. Those should include retrofitting our housing stock, district heating networks, decarbonising our transport system, re-manufacturing and more. Those projects can and must provide high-quality employment and a unique skills base that will be valued by the international market, as well as creating more resilient communities. Workers in Mossmorran and around Fife need a detailed and democratic plan that will secure those opportunities. Let us all make sure that that happens.

17:32  

I thank Mark Ruskell for bringing the debate to the chamber. I appreciate the tone of the debate, which, although everyone has acknowledged problems, has been about looking to the future.

As we emerge from Covid-19, we have the opportunity to build a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy. We are committed to a just transition to net zero emissions by 2045. Our programme for government put that ambition for net zero at the heart of our immediate action on jobs, skills, procurement and investment. We are laying the foundations and are under no illusion: this will be a long-term, national endeavour. It requires planning at all levels: regional, sectoral and at the level of individual businesses and sites. That will be crucial to ensure that the opportunities that arise from the transition are not missed and that the risks associated with rapid structural change are mitigated.

The local community’s concerns about flaring incidents at Mossmorran are clear and are understood by Government and the regulators. They have been clearly articulated by members, including Annabelle Ewing. She, Alex Rowley, Mark Ruskell, and other members have been engaged with that issue for a long time. As members will be aware, SEPA has now concluded its investigation into flaring and submitted a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. That is a measure of the seriousness with which it is treating unplanned flaring incidents at the plant. We are clear that due process must be followed and that it would be inappropriate to comment further on the flaring events while the Crown Office is considering SEPA’s report.

I will highlight some of the new measures that have been put in place since then. On 13 May, to enhance assurance around its regulatory approach, SEPA announced a further package of measures that will be carried out throughout this year and in the coming years. There are two key elements. The first is that SEPA will work with Fife Council, its health partners, ExxonMobil and people from the local community to review how and where air quality is monitored. The second is for SEPA to have an external review conducted by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency to share best practice.

The key part of Mark Ruskell’s motion was about the just transition, and he highlighted its importance and stated that we have to learn lessons from the past. That is absolutely right and it was emphasised again by Alex Rowley, who said that it is people’s jobs that are at stake—it is about their lives. Therefore, how we handle the situation is vital. All members’ speeches highlighted the importance of a just transition that benefits workers and local communities.

There are undoubtedly risks associated with change, but we must not lose sight of the opportunities that arise from being in the vanguard of the move to a net zero economy. We have the chance to build a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy. Our landmark Climate Change Acts provide the toughest and most ambitious legislative framework in the world and we took world-leading action to embed just transition principles at its heart.

In addition, Scotland’s independent just transition commission will be invaluable as we seek to apply those principles in Scotland. The commission produced an interim report in February and a green recovery report at the end of July, which emphasised meaningful engagement with all key stakeholders—another point that was raised by members in the debate.

Reducing the emissions from Mossmorran and other large industrial sites in Scotland will be pivotal in meeting our climate ambition. Our climate change plan update will be published later this year and it will help to set us on a trajectory towards net zero, ensuring that our actions in the immediate term are in line with our long-term goals and set out our strategy.

A number of members mentioned the Grangemouth future industry board. That is an early-stage initiative that we announced in the programme for government to co-ordinate public sector decision making and encourage economic and transition activity at the Grangemouth industrial cluster. That will, in turn, help to maximise the impact of the Falkirk growth deal. The Grangemouth cluster comprises numerous manufacturing businesses. Approximately three quarters of our largest industrial users are concentrated there, although it is, of course, not the only area of industrial activity in Scotland. We will do all that we can to learn from the mistakes that have been observed in industrial transformations of the past.

Turning to another part of Mark Ruskell’s motion and a key theme of the debate, there have been calls to establish a just transition board specifically for Mossmorran, perhaps along the lines of what was announced for Grangemouth in the programme for government. However, as I said at the start, it would not be appropriate to closely engage or build that kind of relationship with Mossmorran at the moment while the Crown Office considers SEPA’s report. The Government cannot commit to any specific action on the future of Mossmorran until the outcome of that consideration is known. I hope that members understand that position.

I appreciate the minister’s point, but does the Government accept in principle the possibility of extending just transition boards to other sites across Scotland? I ask that with a regional interest in the decommissioning of Hunterston nuclear power station.

That is something that has been looked at specifically for Grangemouth. I will not rule anything in or out at the moment. We will have to see how the model works there. There is a particular set of circumstances at Mossmorran and we will need to go through that process. We will have to see whether the Grangemouth model is something that could work in other areas, but we will have to see how that establishes itself first and how the work continues.

Scotland’s just transition commission will provide advice next March, but it has shared some early thinking in which planning ahead and on-going proactive engagement are prominent themes. It is clear that securing the economic and social opportunities associated with a net zero transition will require careful planning and collaboration between Government, industry, workers and communities in the years ahead.

The motion concerns businesses that are operating in Scotland’s oil and gas sector. The Scottish Government recognises the need to do all that we can to help key sectors in this extremely challenging economic context. Now, more than ever, we need a just transition that supports sustainable growth and jobs. The oil and gas industry is a critical component of Scotland’s economy and energy mix and it will remain integral during a sustainable, secure and inclusive energy transition.

The oil and gas sector, including Mossmorran, can play a positive role through helping to channel resources and innovative supply-chain activity to design the diverse energy system that we need for the future. It is crucial that a sustainable and resilient future is developed for the people who work in the industry, whose skills and expertise will be vital for the move to our zero carbon future. In partnership with the industry, we want to build on Scotland’s considerable strengths and attract economic investment for decarbonisation.

We want to support and grow existing sectors and to attract new advanced manufacturing. Our programme for government commits £60 million in support to overcome the challenges that industry faces in the transition. That includes £34 million for a Scottish industrial energy transformation fund that will support investment-ready mature energy efficiency technologies and fund studies for deeper emissions cuts from industrial processes. Alongside the manufacturing low carbon challenge fund, the £60 million support package demonstrates our commitment to stimulating existing industrial players to invest in decarbonisation measures and to help to nurture and scale up innovative low carbon solutions.

We have embarked on a national mission to create new jobs—good and green jobs—protecting people from redundancy in employment and investing in our green new deal. We have already set out the first tranche of our £2 billion low carbon fund. Combined with our £100 million of support to help businesses create new green jobs, the series of commitments that I have outlined demonstrates how serious the Scottish Government is in responding to the momentous economic and climate challenges that are before us with real and targeted action to drive a just transition to a net zero economy. I look forward to working with colleagues from across the chamber to that end.

Meeting closed at 17:42.