The first minister has come under fire for her failure to fulfil a promise to create a publicly owned power company to help struggling Scots with their energy bills. The Scottish government confirmed a lack of progress on the project for two years, despite spending more than £400,000 assessing the scheme’s viability. Nicola Sturgeon pledged to establish a publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company in a flagship announcement at her party conference in 2017, but the scheme hasn’t got any further than an “independent strategic outline case” completed two years ago. The case study, carried out by consultants EY, cost more than £300,000. Another “outline business case” study, costing £100,000, was also conducted in 2018 but has still to be published. Announcing the plan three years ago, Sturgeon pledged “energy would be bought wholesale or generated here in Scotland — renewable, of course — and sold to customers as close to cost price as possible”. A Scottish government spokesman said it remained committed to developing the public energy company in partnership with local authorities. He said: “An independent outline business case has been completed. Discussing the outcomes and agreeing the next steps with interested local authorities has been interrupted by coronavirus restrictions and the pressure of other work required in response to the crisis. We will resume discussions as soon as possible, publish this report once it has been fully considered and will keep parliament updated on subsequent progress.”
Times 21st June 2020 read more »
THE Scottish economy needs to be radically reorganised in the wake of Coronavirus, according to one of the nation’s leading economists. Professor Ronald MacDonald OBE, of the Adam Smith Business School at Glasgow University, publishes a paper today outlining the revolutionary changes needed in the face of Covid’s devastation of the economy. Key to MacDonald’s vision of post-pandemic economics is “the greening of the Scottish economy”. This, he believes, “could generate many new jobs” in construction and energy. Climate change, says MacDonald, is the pandemic’s twin. “Low-carbon recovery could not only initiate the significant emissions reduction needed to halt climate change but also create more jobs and economic growth than a high carbon recovery would,” he says.
Herald 21st June 2020 read more »