30th August 2010
More than hot air

The gales that combine to keep us indoors on a windy day may just be good for something after all.

A new study this week claimed that the offshore wind sector could produce 28,000 jobs in Scotland.

Any boost to the jobs market, particularly for our struggling manufacturing sector, has to be good news for Scotland.

But as the elected member for Inverclyde, I was less than thrilled about the news.

After all, it was only a month ago that we learned the Scottish Government will be investing more than £200 million in 11 ports around the country to serve and maintain these wind farms but had overlooked Inverclyde.

Despite the good work being done by the Inverclyde Renewables Alliance, rival ports in places like Hunterston and Campbelltown have been made priorities.

That investment puts Inverclyde at a competitive disadvantage when these power schemes are rolled out and these jobs are being created.

The River Clyde has sustained our community in the past and can again.

But if they do not respond to my pleas, the Scottish Government will have excluded Inverclyde from these green jobs to the benefit of other areas.

I find it extraordinary that Inverclyde is having to fight to be part of this given the infrastructure, skills and workforce we have already in place.

At a time when speed is of the essence, a relatively modest investment could have the Inchgreen site up and running.

And that is why I am working with other agencies to get Inverclyde back in the game.

I have challenged the Enterprise Minister Jim Mather, who has been able to ensure his own constituency will get the benefit of these renewables jobs, as have others on the SNP benches.

In my dealings with him on this important issue, he has been long on words, short on action.

When it comes to creating jobs for the whole of Scotland and here in Inverclyde, we expect more than hot air.