Falkirk Council: Prepared to work with partners over Petroineos job losses
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Chief executive Kenneth Lawrie said that while job losses seem inevitable, he remains hopeful that new roles will be created, not just through the new import terminal but also through the new Forth Green Freeport and the Falkirk and Grangemouth Growth Deal, which both promise millions of pounds of investment locally.
Both of these major projects are in the very early stages but their primary aim is to support a “just transition” away from fossil fuels by investing in new, greener technologies that will also create highly skilled jobs locally.
Mr Lawrie made a brief statement to members of Falkirk Council’s executive this week, then took questions on how he saw events unfolding.
He said: “Matters are at a very early stage but what I would say is that myself and other council officers have been in contact directly with Ineos, with Scottish Enterprise and with Scottish and UK Governments in relation to the position and will continue to liaise and work with all relevant partners as the situation develops.”
Councillors were concerned to know the impact that the announcement would have on the two multi-million pound projects.
Mr Lawrie said: “Neither the Growth Deal nor the Green Freeport outline business case directly relate to the refinery business, so I don’t see any significant change in either final business case.
“But clearly it does have an influence in terms of the broader future of Grangemouth. It is very much tied in with the ‘just transition’ to 2045 and the move away from the carbon intensive industries in Grangemouth.
“So while there isn’t an immediate impact in relation to these, I think we need to be very open-minded, connected to partners in business and government, north and south of the border, so that we can keep a close eye on the situation and ensure, particularly when it comes to the employment situation, that we’re taking that into account as we move forward with both these major projects.”
Mr Lawrie said he understood concerns that the loss of the refinery would affect the projects but he assured members that the skills transition project was always intended to be one of the first to get underway once the business case is approved.
“We’ve always seen the link between the transition and the new skills needed for potential employees in these businesses as being vital to the Growth Deal and more widely, so that is right at the front end of the programme,” he said.