Nicola Sturgeon blasted for endless quest for independence
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The Cabinet minister attacked the SNP-Green coalition in Holyrood for putting the UK at risk of over-reliance on energy supply from Russia. He criticised the left-wing parties for creating a “recipe for disaster” by wanting to end the use of North Sea gas and opposing new nuclear power plants.
Ministers in Westminster are concerned Europe’s reliance on gas from Russia will leave the West vulnerable to Putin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged countries on the continent to quickly move away from use of gas from Russia.
There are fears the Kremlin could cut off the gas supply to other countries in retaliation for sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Britain relies on Russian gas for just three percent of its energy supply, but ending North Sea gas exploits would risk the UK becoming more dependent on sources from abroad.
Nicola Sturgeon’s government has been criticised for threatening ‘energy security’ (Image: PA)
Lashing out at the Scottish Government, Mr Kwarteng said this morning it was important to continue investing in North Sea gas while the UK transitions to greener energy sources.
He said: “The Scottish nationalist/Green coalition is a threat to energy security.
“Turning off North Sea gas and opposing new nuclear is a recipe for disaster.
“We need more investment in North Sea gas while we transition to cheaper renewables and more nuclear power.”
The UK Government has set out its North Sea Transition Deal, which aims to continue preserving the jobs of oil workers and energy security while the country shifts towards renewable energy sources.
Approximately £16billion has been pledged to help move to greener sources by the end of the decade.
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The Scottish government wants to move away from North Sea oil (Image: PA)
Kwasi Kwarteng attacked the stance taken by the SNP-Green coalition (Image: PA)
Mr Kwarteng’s attack on the Scottish government came after Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove yesterday admitted there were “divergent views” between Holyrood and Westminster on energy policy.
“My own view is that there’s a reason why the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department exists as it does, as a UK-wide department.
“Energy security, for sombre reasons which we’re aware of, really matters, but there are legitimate divergent views about how to achieve that,” he told Parliamentary select committee.
“I know that in the future that the UK Government will want to continue significant investment in the oil and gas sector, continued investment in the North East, in Orkney and in Shetland – in order to secure the future of the oil and gas sector as part of a transition.
The Scottish Government has blamed Westminster, citing a lack of funding (Image: PA)
“I’m sure there will be ministers in the Scottish Government who would argue that some of that investment might be better prioritised elsewhere.”
A spokesman for the Scottish government said the problem was Westminster was failing to give enough financial support to help diverge from reliance on North Sea oil.
They said: “The North Sea has a critical role to play in our transition to a net zero economy and we are undertaking a programme of work on Scotland’s future energy requirements, ensuring an approach that supports and protects our energy security and our highly skilled workforce, through the Energy Transition Fund, the Green Jobs fund and Scotland’s £500million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray.
“Despite the £300billion that has flown to the Treasury from North Sea oil since the 1970s, the UK Government has so far ignored our repeated calls to match our North East Transition Fund.”