SNP MPs demand answers over UK government abandoning its pledge for North East jobs

Last year, the UK government pledged that 200 civil servant jobs for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero were to be relocated to Aberdeen.

Now the Tories are u-turning on this promise and cutting the planned relocation, instead now only promising to relocate 35 civil servant jobs to Aberdeen.

Tory Minister Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, at the time hailed the announcement. But is now refusing to stand up for people in the North East as Westminster turns its back.

SNP MP’s challenge UK government for North East let down and neglect

The assurance of numerous job opportunities ignited genuine optimism within Aberdeen, fostering hope for the city’s economic growth.

While the Tories clearly cannot be trusted to deliver for Scotland, your SNP MPs are working hard to challenge the UK government over this disappointing decision.

Your SNP MPs are asking the UK government to explain why the decision to relocate only 35 civil servant jobs to Aberdeen, rather than the 200 jobs reported last year, has happened,  expressing the ‘disappointment and anger’ felt right across the North East of Scotland.

In their letter, Stephen Flynn, Aberdeen South MP, SNP Westminster Leader, Kirsty Blackman, Aberdeen North MP, Richard Thomson, Gordon MP and Dave Doogan, Angus and Perthshire Glens MP said:

Dear Secretary of State & Ministers,

We write to convey the disappointment and anger being felt across North East Scotland at the decision to relocate only 35 DESNZ civil service jobs to Aberdeen, rather than the ‘hundreds’ that your government took great care to brief would be the case.

Last December, the Minister for the Cabinet Office was quoted stating “we are now going to have this second headquarters where hundreds more will come to work and live in the city”, while the Secretary of State for Scotland claimed that the scale of the move demonstrated the Government’s commitment to “the north east of Scotland and to our oil and gas and renewables sectors”. It is clear that neither of these statements now passes scrutiny.

Taken alongside the shortfall in ‘Levelling Up’ awards; the glacial progress since 2014 in delivering the ‘Acorn’ project and the savage cuts made by HM Treasury to the Scottish Government’s capital budget, this is simply the latest in a long line of UK Government betrayals of the North East of Scotland. It provides further evidence – as if any were needed – of the chasm between what your party in government says it will do for the North East of Scotland and its key industries, and what little it delivers in reality.

It is clear that the vast difference between the number of DESNZ jobs that the UK Government indicated would be relocated to Aberdeen relative to the number of jobs now being delivered can only be explained by bad faith; incompetence; a change in policy; or some combination of the three. We look forward to receiving your explanation as to why your Government is failing to deliver on the expectations that it took such care to stoke at the time.

We have also consulted with our colleagues standing in the constituencies of West Aberdeeenshire & Kincardine, Aberdeenshire North & Moray East and Moray West, Nairn & Strathspey, who are all in agreement with the sentiments expressed.

Westminster is ineffective for Scotland’s jobs and energy sector

Amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous city centers and businesses faced adversity, magnifying the significance of the promised job influx for Aberdeen’s economic growth.

The hundreds of promised jobs are of course welcomed by the SNP and many local officials and businesses in Aberdeen, underscoring Aberdeen’s renowned status as the oil and gas capital of Europe, coupled with its substantial green-energy prospects, adding credence to its potential for economic revitalisation.

While it is utterly cruel for the retraction of this promise of hope from the North East of Scotland, it is not the first time the UK government has made their priorities elsewhere and disregarded the people of Scotland.

Both the Tories and the Labour Party have proven ineffectual in standing up for Scotland’s energy sector.

For instance, Keir Starmer’s plans to increase the windfall levy on energy tax from 75% to 78% reflects a lack of care and sincereity for Scotland’s energy and business dynamics.

Despite Scotland’s wealth in both oil, gas, and green energy, under decades of Tory rule, we are burdened with some of the highest energy bills in Europe.

Scotland deserves decisions made for its people, right here in Scotland, not in the hands of Westminster, where their priorities do not align with the best interests of Scotland.