RISHI Sunak is planning a green jobs and industry boost for Scotland as part of Wednesday's Budget.

The Chancellor is expected to pledge an additional £32m to support green energy development projects in the North East, and will also bring forward funding for three regional growth deals by five years.

It is anticipated that £27m will be provided by the Treasury to the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), which is aimed at helping the oil and gas sector following the pandemic and tumbling oil prices.

The EZT, which is earmarked for a site close to the Granite City's South Harbour, has caused fury with some local communities who say it will wipe out their last remaining area of green space.

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The treasury's £27m will be added to the funding pot for the scheme, alongside a similar pledge by the Scottish Government made in December.

It is thought that the EZT development will see Aberdeen and the North East become a competitive hub for cleaner energy, such as offshore wind and hydrogen power.

Along with the EZT funds, Chancellor Sunak plans to announce up to £2m for the development of industry proposals for the North Sea Transition Deal, and £5m for the Global Underwater Hub in Aberdeen.

The projects are all part of the region’s ambitions to become a world leader in the transition to net zero, which will help Scotland to meet its climate change targets.

The Treasury said the proposals will use existing skills and expertise in the energy sector to 'drive forward a low carbon future for the area and secure the long-term viability of the energy sector'.

It has also framed the investment as the first step in its promise to deliver a sector-specific deal for the oil and gas industry.

READ MORE: Scotland can be a global leader in era of sustainable energy

Chancellor Sunak, said: “It’s vital that as we deliver our Plan for Jobs and level-up across the whole UK we build back better in a sustainable way.  

“The measures set out in tomorrow’s Budget will boost Scotland’s transformation into a green energy hub, deliver on our commitment to Net Zero, and deliver a boost that cities and industry need.” 

Alongside the North East funding, the Chancellor is also expected to announce that he will bring forward funding for three regional growth deals in Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, and Falkirk.

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The Treasury will bring forward £25.8m for the deals by five years, reducing the deal period from 15 to 10 years.

The Ayrshire Growth Deal will receive an extra £3.4m a year, while the Argyll and Bute one will get £800,000 extra and Falkirk will receive £1.3m more per year for the remaining 10 years of the deal.

Meanwhile, the SNP has called for the Treasury to follow the Scottish Government's lead and extend rates relief for the hardest-hit sectors for another year.


Stephen Flynn MP, the party's business spokesman, has urged the Chancellor to give a 12-month extension to the 100 per cent business rates relief to retail, hospitality, aviation and leisure, saying it would be a "vital step" in helping the country's economy recover.

Although business rats are devolved, he said the UK Govrnment should follow Holyrood's lead for businesses elsewhere in the country struggling to survive the pandemic. 

He said: "At a time when businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and hardship, the UK government must bring forward measures to help sectors navigate through this crisis.

“In Scotland, the SNP Government has already confirmed that it will extend Non-Domestic Rates relief for the whole of 2021-22 for retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses - a move welcomed by stakeholders.

“Whilst Non-Domestic Rates are fully devolved in Scotland, the coronavirus pandemic does not recognise borders or economies. I urge the UK government to follow the lead of the Scottish Government and implement support that will be a lifeline for many struggling businesses.”