Home » Starmer rejects claims thousands of jobs at risk due to oil and gas stance

Starmer rejects claims thousands of jobs at risk due to oil and gas stance

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has rejected claims his party’s stance on oil and gas would cost jobs in the North Sea.

The party has said it would not allow new licences for oil and gas exploration if Sir Keir becomes prime minister after the July 4 election.

But some in the north east of Scotland, including the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce this week, have said the next government has 100 days to save 100,000 jobs in the sector.

“We’re not going to turn the pipes off instantaneously, that’s never been part of our plan,” he told BBC Radio Scotland.

“We’re not going to revoke licences… that means that oil and gas will be part of the mix for decades to come.

“The question is what we do about the transition.”

“I do reject that analysis,” he said when questioned on potential job losses.

“In fact, I am absolutely convinced that the transition could bring more jobs to Scotland and jobs that will last for decades.”

Sir Keir Starmer holding a Labour pledge card (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir went on to compare the current situation with the end of coal mining in Britain during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher.

“I think a huge mistake was made when coal started coming to an end and the government of the day didn’t plan for the future and I’m not prepared to let an incoming Labour Government be in that position,” he said.

“We have to plan for the future, do the transition properly and that is the best way to ensure that jobs are there, not just for this generation, but for the next generation after that.”

Sir Keir was also questioned on GB Energy, one of the party’s key pledges in this election campaign, which he said would be an “investment vehicle” as opposed to an energy generation company.

The firm, which he has maintained would be headquartered in Scotland, would be set up with £8 billion of borrowing and would attract, the Labour leader hoped, three times as much in private investment.

“It would be an investment vehicle, not an energy company,” he said.

“The money going into it would be public money, but used to trigger private investment alongside it.”

Sir Keir will travel to Scotland on Friday to speak alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, laying out the party’s six promises to Scotland ahead of the July 4 election.

General Election campaign 2024
Scottish National Party leader John Swinney said Labour was offering no change (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking ahead of the visit, Sir Keir said: “Labour will deliver a decade of national renewal and the steps set out today are our down payment on that promise.

“From cutting bills to boosting pay to protecting the NHS, the Labour government I lead will be on your side and relentlessly focused on the issues that matter to you.”

However, Scotland’s First Minister John Swinney claimed Sir Keir is “offering no change at all” and has challenged the Labour leader to produce an emergency budget to reverse “Tory austerity cuts”.

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said the party had “already been at the heart of government” in Scotland by backing “the failed SNP-Green coalition on some of their worst decisions”.

“On raising taxes, the disastrous gender self-ID legislation, the illiberal Hate Crimes Act and profoundly damaging rent controls, Scottish Labour MSPs have lined up to back the SNP,” he added.