The Scottish government has announced steps to boost the number of offshore wind contracts staying in Scotland.

A deal between ministers and Crown Estate Scotland means developers will have detail when Scots firms will be used as part of the leasing process.

The deal came at a summit in Edinburgh attended by trade unions, UK government representatives and industry.

It was called amid concerns about supply chain firms such as Bifab losing out on deals to foreign competitors.

Ahead of the summit, the GMB Scotland union claimed contracts “worth billions” had been lost to overseas firms last year, “costing tens of thousands of Scottish jobs”.

Announcing the new steps, Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland is the ideal location for offshore wind, but recent projects have not delivered the significant economic opportunities we want to see for Scottish businesses.

“The Scottish government has been calling for the offshore sector to do more by awarding contracts to our indigenous supply chain but recent disappointments suggest that more has to be done.

“I will use every lever at our disposal to ensure that our renewables supply chain benefits from the expansion of offshore wind in our waters, leading to the creation and retention of Scottish jobs.”

‘Long overdue’

A joint statement from the Unite and GMB unions welcomed the “long overdue measures” but added that they “must be the start of change and not the end”.

It continued: “The truth is it’s been a decade of failure for job creation in Scotland’s offshore wind sector.

“In 2011 employment in Scotland’s offshore wind sector was forecast to be 28,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs by 2020.

“We are nowhere near that and in the last few months redundancy notices have been handed out at supply chain firms like BiFab and CS Wind.”

It added: “Without a detailed industrial plan involving the industry and a substantial programme of investment for our supply chain, our green jobs revolution will continue to be delivered in Spain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Indonesia and China – anywhere but Scotland.”

SAS Volunteer

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