POLITICIANS in Fife have said they fear the local impact of the closure of Longannet power station at Kincardine has been forgotten, following the Scottish Government’s rejection of a £9 million regeneration plan.

More than 200 jobs will be lost at the plant itself, but it is thought the closure will hit more than 1,000 others working in the supply chain. Around a dozen local companies will be directly affected along with almost 200 across Scotland.

The Longannet task force – chaired by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing – considered the funding package at the end of last month. It proposed £9m of additional resources for the area, including £1.5m for community regeneration projects, such as a local business centre and a regeneration fund for the most affected communities, including Kincardine.

Fife Council’s deputy leader Lesley Laird said there was huge disappointment that the plan had been knocked back.

“I know that this rejection is also being viewed with some concern by communities and it is important that colleagues across South West Fife and beyond continue to work together to ensure that the proposed local action plan is adequately resourced and delivered before the closure of Longannet,” said Laird, who is also the executive spokesperson on planning and the economy.

“Given the size and scale of the impact that the closure of Longannet will have on communities, it is fundamental and essential that the action plan is financially resourced.

“When Halls of Broxburn closed in West Lothian, everyone recognised the impact and the Scottish Government were generous in their funding of nearly £12m of additional resources to the area to fund, not just an immediate recovery plan, but a legacy of activities.

“Longannet is equally worthy of such financial resource and commitment. Its communities deserve no less.

“The levels of engagement that we have had to date with communities and businesses that are directly affected only serves to underline the case for the £9m funding package.”

The economic recovery plan for Longannet outlines a commitment – if funding is identified – by Fife, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and North Ayrshire Councils, along with Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland/PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment), to drive the recovery of affected communities, businesses and employees over the short, medium and long term.

It was submitted in January and later discussed at a meeting of Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee. Ewing previously said: “The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland already bring a huge amount of investment to the wider area.

“Across the public sector we need to ensure that our resources are being used as effectively as possible and task forces exist to join up our response to maximise the impact – no one would expect an additional pot of money to be set aside for task forces.”

Meanwhile, Fife Labour Councillor Gavin Yates has described the dismissal of the package as totally “criminal”, and has tabled a motion, calling for the Scottish Government to come forward with the funding “as soon as possible”.