THE Tories’ attempt to blame the Scottish Government for Westminster’s failure to secure new offshore wind farms at a key auction was branded “embarrassing”.

Douglas Lumsden, Scottish Tory MSP for North East Scotland region, claimed that the UK Government’s failure to secure any bids for offshore wind contracts last week should be a “wake-up call for the Scottish Government”.

The MSP claimed that it should be a warning against ministers putting all their “eggs in one basket” and urged the First Minister to look again at having a more “balanced energy mix that includes nuclear”.

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Deputy First Minister Shona Robison could be heard saying Lumsden’s contribution was “embarrassing” during FMQs on Thursday.

We told how Westminster’s inaction over the soaring costs of offshore wind projects led to criticism from the SNP who said it was putting Scotland’s “renewable and economic future” at risk.

Wind farm builders had warned for months that the UK Government, which sets a maximum price that companies are allowed to charge, was not taking into account how much costs had soared during the cost of living crisis.

In response to Lumsden’s (above) question, the First Minister said that he “rightly looks embarrassed”.

“That the Scottish Government is somehow responsible for the failure of the contract for disparate auction that the UK Government controlled, it is seriously desperate from the member,” the FM said.

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“If he doesn’t want to listen to me, he should listen to the likes of Keith Anderson, who said, and I’ll quote directly, ‘This is a multi billion pound lost opportunity to deliver low-cost energy for consumers and a wake-up call for the UK Government’.”

It came after SNP MSP Emma Harper raised the auction failure earlier in the session, with the FM stating that the incident exposes the UK Government’s “complete failure to capture one of the greatest opportunities for Scotland’s net zero economy.”

He accused the Westminster Tories of being both “anti-climate and anti-growth”, adding that the Scottish Government backs calls from industry to increase the strike price. 

Offshore wind contracts are seen as the backbone of the UK's green electricity ambitions, but the lack of any successful projects at this auction was branded the "biggest disaster for clean energy in almost a decade," by Greenpeace. 

The National:

Elsewhere, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross led his questioning on body worn cameras for police officers and warnings that they won’t be rolled out until next year. 

The First Minister said the Scottish Government had increased the budget for the force and pointed to comments made by deputy chief officer David Page, who said that plans to roll out body worn cameras were in line with previous planning.

And, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar led on the number of patients in Scotland who were seeking private treatment due to NHS waiting times. 

He asked if the First Minister thought it was acceptable that 5000 patients last year were forced to cover the costs of their hip or knee replacements. 

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Yousaf said that Sarwar had once again neglected to mention the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and pointed to waiting time figures in Labour-run Wales, noting that it would be “cold comfort” for those on waiting lists. 

After Sarwar claimed that “more and more Scots are being forced to pay the price for SNP incompetence and failure”, the FM hit back and claimed there was increasing activity in the NHS. 

On the cost of living crisis, Yousaf said the Scottish Government was taking action to tackle the issue with an estimated 90,000 children lifted out of poverty, in stark contrast to Sarwar’s “summer of U-turns”. 

“Where he has aligned himself with cruel Tory policy after cruel Tory policy. Now we are unashamedly anti-poverty, unashamedly pro-growth. The only thing Anas Sarwar is is pro-Starmer.”

Later, Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack was met with laughter by MSPs after she accused the Scottish Government of “flip-flopping on oil and gas”. 

Yousaf said that Boyack would have more credibility if her party hadn’t U-turned on its support for low emission zones or dropped its £28 billion green prosperity fund.

“And that is the very, very point here, that time and time again, his Scottish Government doesn't just talk the talk, we're prepared to walk the walk," he said. 

“We will bring forward serious action to tackle the climate emergency, but what would really help is that those parties that demand we meet our targets don't then oppose every single measure we bring to this Chamber.”