A NATIONALISED energy sector could create 40,000 more jobs, say the Scottish Greens.

In a report published today, the party claim the best way to save the energy sector is to take it into public ownership.

The report by Mika Minio-Paluell, author of the Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, says tax cuts for oil corporations are not the answer.

The report states: “The North Sea oil industry says jobs are threatened by falling oil prices, but a better future for Scotland is possible. More and better jobs. A safer and more stable economy. Stronger communities. A long-term future as an energy exporter. Moving from energy colonialism to energy democracy.

“This better future won’t come with tax cuts for oil corporations and trying to extract every last barrel. It means changing direction towards a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. This will require a wholesale change of UK economic policy away from austerity and toward investment in the new economy.

“Sustainable sectors in the new economy can employ significantly more people than currently work in fossil fuel industries.”

The new economy could employ 200,000 people by 2020 in contrast to the 156,000 currently employed in fossil fuel extraction, says the report.

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone welcomed the report: “In recent months there have been mass lay-offs in the oil and gas industry.

“The ongoing insecurity due to the volatile price and finite nature of this resource has devastating consequences for families and communities.

“The only credible and responsible course of action is a managed transition towards sustainable sectors as outlined in this major report.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “We’ve become used to seeing Government-backed task forces set up to help workers and communities when big industries close suddenly.

"However, if Scotland is to grasp the opportunities set out in this report, then we need ministers become more forward-thinking, perhaps by creating a low-carbon futures taskforce that could plan a sensible and coordinated transition that delivered sustainable jobs and communities in cleaner manufacturing and industries. I hope this study helps stimulate that sort of thinking.”