TRADE unions have hit out at Alister Jack after the Scottish Secretary blamed market forces after work on a wind farm off the Forth Valley was sent to Indonesia.

The £2 billion Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) project is set to be one of the country's biggest renewable projects, but it's still not clear if Scotland will get a cut of a key contract to build the 54 steel foundation jackets which anchor the turbines to the seabed.

There are suggestions that just eight might be built in Scotland while the rest are constructed in south-east Asia.

That would mean around 15% of the valuable and crucial manufacturing work coming to local yards like BiFab.

READ MORE: Union bosses hit out over ‘scandalous’ BiFab contract

So far the only new confirmed NnG jobs Scotland would gain is 50 over 25 years, at a new maintenance base at Eyemouth harbour.

In 2010, a Scottish Government report stated the offshore wind sector alone offered the potential for 28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 jobs in related industries, as well as £7.1bn investment in Scotland by 2020.

Jack was pushed on the job during Wednesday's Scottish Questions.

Labour’s Tony Lloyd told the Secretary of State: “When EDF was given a licence to develop the wind farm at Neart na Gaoithe, 10 miles off the Fife coast, there was a commitment that 1000 jobs would be created in making the jackets for the wind turbines,” Lloyd said.

“Can he tell the House how many jobs have been created?” he asked Jack wad forced to admit that he did not know the answer Lloyd responded: “I will tell the Secretary of State how many jobs were created: 1000 in Indonesia.

“Is the GMB union right in saying that the transportation of those wind turbines from Indonesia to the Fife coast will be the equivalent of 35m cars on the road?

“How does that fit our commitment to greening the economy, and what confidence can people have in Scotland that jobs in a wind farm 10 miles off the Fife coast will be created for people in Scotland, not people in Indonesia?”

Jack dismissed the Labour MP’s concerns. “That is the market economy,” he said, adding, "and we need to be better at pricing and better at producing our turbines—that is the straight answer.

“We will discuss this issue and many others at COP 26 in Glasgow later this year when we discuss the climate emergency, but I do not dispute the fact that bringing turbines from Indonesia is not the answer; we need to find a better way of efficiently delivering them in the UK.”

READ MORE: Is Boris Johnson about to sack Scottish Secretary Alister Jack?

The GMB was furious at the remarks. The union’s Scotland organiser Hazel Nolan said: "Alister Jack has unwittingly revealed the truth: the UK Government has washed their hands of their responsibility to deliver renewables jobs here in the UK.

"Far from ‘the market economy at work’, what we are seeing is yards here in the UK being abandoned by our government and left to compete with heavily state-subsidised yards abroad.

"The Scottish and UK governments have failed to produce an industrial strategy to match the rhetoric on green jobs and it’s energy consumers here in the UK that are propping up this rigged market with spiralling energy bills."

The National:

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Scottish Green energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell said Jack had dismissed the industry: Westminster holds almost all the cards when it comes to supporting our renewable energy industry, and government has made promises to do so by making generating subsidy dependent on delivering UK jobs. Yet here is the Scottish Secretary more or less admitting they don’t intend to, outsourcing the supply chain elsewhere.

“In a climate emergency we cannot afford to leave the future of our communities to the dead hand of the free market. There should be conditionality in place to ensure vital work building a sustainable future goes to places like the BiFab yard in Fife. Until Scotland achieves independence, we need Westminster to wake up to what is needed.”

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said it was "callous and stupid" to brush away the concerns of workers and local communities.

He said: "Offshore wind is subsidised by Scottish energy users through their fuel bills, even as hundreds of thousand live in fuel poverty.

"Meanwhile workers in Scotland's fabrication yards are losing out on work that is being shipped from tax-free zones in Indonesia.

"It is both callous and stupid to brush away concerns from workers and local communities with a blase reference to the market economy. Markets don't just happen, they are created and regulated by Government and they need Government intervention to function effectively.

"Alister is a long way off message. At a recent offshore wind summit organised by the Scottish Government, Westminster officials claimed to be committed to creating more work in local supply chains through 'contracts for difference'.

"I suspect that more than a few of Alister's colleagues will be less than happy with his response and the STUC will seek urgent clarification as to whether his indifference to local jobs and a just transition to a low-carbon economy is a personal view or that of the UK Government."