Scottish Greens welcome Government action over Kremlin war machine
Scottish Greens external affairs spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP, has welcomed action from the Scottish Government against public grants being issued to companies that continue to trade with Russia.
The move follows calls from the Scottish Green MSP for a review of Scottish Enterprise funding for companies doing work in Russia.Scottish Enterprise has been confirmed as having given millions in public grants to one company, Baker Hughes, which is now facing scrutiny as part of investigations into alleged exports of oil and gas equipment from Scotland to Russia months after the invasion began.
In a response to Mr Greer, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, said that the Scottish Government would look to withhold funding if there is any reason to think that the Scottish Government’s position was not being complied with, not just the UK’s legally required sanctions regime.
The Deputy First Minister wrote “Scottish Enterprise therefore has a policy in place, which is kept under regular review, to ensure that it does not support companies that continue to trade with Russia…”
He said that a £4.9m research and development grant had been approved in April 2018 by Scottish Enterprise, which predated the current conflict in Ukraine, with £4.8m of the grant had been paid before March 2022.
“I understand that there remains a small final instalment of funding due to Baker Hughes for a training grant, which was part of the package of support approved in 2018.
“I have been assured by Scottish Enterprise that, even though the original approval pre-dated the invasion of Ukraine, this final amount will not be paid to Baker Hughes unless both the legally binding sanctions regime and the Scottish Government’s position towards Russia are being complied with.”
Commenting on the letter Mr Greer, who was among a raft of Western politicians sanctioned by the Kremlin last year over his support for Ukraine, said:
“I'm glad the Scottish Government has responded so quickly to my request for action.
"Public money should be withheld from companies which continued doing business with Putin after the Russian invasion began.
"Scotland must lead by example. We must avoid there being any Scottish complicity, however indirect, in supporting the Kremlin's war machine as it commits terrible atrocities against the people of Ukraine.
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"Scottish Enterprise is an arm of the Scottish Government. The grants it issues send a message. It should always set the highest ethical standards, in line with the government's own robust position.
"That means showing solidarity with people in Ukraine by taking a zero-tolerance approach to any company trading with human rights abusing regimes, like the one in Russia."
Baker Hughes issued a statement confirming that its last shipment had been in June last year, adding it was gravely concerned by the war in Ukraine.
It went on: “…we are compliant with all applicable sanctions and that the company and Scottish Enterprise remain in close communication and alignment.”