Government only told of Grangemouth closure at same time as workers – minister

A minister has rejected claims the Scottish Government was warned of the Grangemouth refinery closure years before the announcement.

Scottish Energy Secretary Mairi McAllan said it is “crystal clear” ministers were only told of the plans in November 2023 – the same time as workers and the UK Government.

Owners Petroineos announced the refinery will operate as normal until at least spring 2025, however it will then begin transitioning to an oil import terminal.

Following a ministerial statement on Thursday, opposition MSPs grilled Ms McAllan on the exact timeline the Government was informed.

Ms McAllan said discussions had been ongoing between the Scottish Government and Petroineos for a number of years.

But she said: “It’s crystal clear that this decision was made to us at the same time as it was to the wider community.

“I was equally clear in my statement that as a responsible Government, we have been engaged for years with the owners and operators of Scotland’s central industrial complex. It would be a complete dereliction of our duty if we were not engaged with them on that and of course future planning is part of that.”

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Douglas Lumsden said: “News of the Grangemouth transition announced in November was shocking to many of its workers, but not to the SNP Government who have known this was coming for two years.

Sharon Graham
Unite union chief Sharon Graham said the Scottish and UK governments had let down Grangemouth workers (PA)

“The minister must admit that the SNP have completely let down the workers of Grangemouth, urgently take action to secure the future of the plant, and reassure them that their livelihoods will be protected.”

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, which represents many of the refinery workers, said: “Grangemouth workers are angry over the failure by the Scottish and UK governments to bring forward any proposals that support their livelihoods.”

She added the union would “hold every politician to account for their inaction”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie also criticised the ministerial statement. He said: “It just sounds probably to most people in Grangemouth like a series of meetings, letters and dates for more meetings.

“People won’t believe it until they see it.”

In the statement, Ms McAllan said the Scottish Government had a “resolute commitment” to playing its part in a just transition for the Grangemouth community.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –