Scottish economy slump shows the time for transition is now

Patrick Harvie, MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, has today highlighted an urgent need for transition away from the North Sea oil industry, as new figures show downturn in the sector has had a negative impact on the overall Scottish economy.

Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2014-15 (GERS) report shows  the negative impact of the decline in North Sea revenue, which fell by 55% compared to 2013-14, on the overall economy. Scotland recorded a net fiscal deficit of £14.9 billion when a geographic share of North Sea revenues is taken into account. The deficit, equivalent to 9.7 per cent of GDP in 2014-15, was twice the rate of deficit in the rest of the UK.

A report by the Scottish Green MSPs, published last year, estimates that 204,000 jobs could be created in Scotland by investing a transition away from the oil industry, into new sectors such as renewables, decommissioning and energy efficient housing (note 2).

Patrick said:

"These figures prove that Scotland is in urgent need of a bold transition plan that will secure high-quality jobs and energy production in the face of North Sea oil industry decline.

"Estimates by the Scottish Greens show that Scotland can create 204,000 jobs in industries such as renewable energy, decommissioning, energy efficiency. But with the Tory attack on the renewable sector and the SNP's painfully slow response to the growing demand for decommissioning, it's clear that our governments are lacking the vision and political will to start properly planning ahead properly.

"Our economy and workforce have the potential to make huge gains in industries like decommissioning, food production and renewables - but we simply cannot afford to wait around timidly while more jobs are lost in the oil industry. Scotland needs bold investment and industrial policy that will make us a leader in the industries of the future.

"The Scottish Greens will continue to push for a responsible, decisive plan that will move Scotland away from an over-reliance on the unsustainable oil industry, and ensure that our future generations have access to high quality jobs and secure sources of energy.”