As general election day approaches the award for the most ludicrous manifesto claim goes to the SNP which reckons the UK should imitate a Scottish Government initiative that appears to be going nowhere.

Key pledges in the programme on which the SNP will go to the polls on Thursday include the call for the UK Government to match the £500m Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray. Team Swinney claims this will help build on Scotland’s world-renowned expertise, create jobs, foster innovation and deliver a fair and managed transition to net zero.

The claim refers to a ten-year programme that is a legacy of the co-operation agreement former first minister Nicola Sturgeon negotiated with the Scottish Greens in 2021, which ended amid acrimony in April. The promise of support for the North East was used to justify the SNP Government’s decision to turn its back on the oil and gas industry which Ms Sturgeon had claimed previously could bankroll an independent Scotland.

Environmental campaigners have long had reservations about the Just Transition fund. They claimed early awards seemed to benefit firms backed by the fossil fuel industry more than communities.

In March a report by MSPs highlighted major concerns about the fund after the SNP Government cut the amount allocated in the Budget for the current financial year to related programmes by 75%, to £12m.

The Economy and Fair Work committee said the Scottish Government had yet to provide realistic estimates of  what was needed by way of investment for a just transition to be achieved.

READ MORE: SNP Government new energy jobs boast insults electors

“The Scottish Government must urgently set out how just transition considerations are being embedded across policy areas and in spending decisions, and how this is being co ordinated,” said members of the cross-party committee.

They added: “Given the Just Transition Fund did not open for new bids in the last financial year and the way in which it is funded this year, it is now extremely difficult for public sector and community groups to access it.”

Against that backdrop it seems a bit rich for the SNP to try to hold the Just Transition fund out as some sort of model.

The criticisms highlight a recurrent failing of the SNP Governments that have been in power since the minority administration led by Alex Salmond took office in 2007.

They have found it much easier to make grand policy announcements with big budgets attached to them than to deliver on the related pledges.

Months after the SNP signed the Bute House agreement with the Greens, public spending watchdog Stephen Boyle said the Scottish Government’s policy ambitions were undermined by a “major implementation gap”.

The importance of the Just Transition agenda was underlined last week when 60 plus climate groups including Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace signed an open letter calling for a “clear and funded” transition plan for workers and communities reliant on the oil and gas industry in the UK.

READ MORE: Scotland's dependence on oil and gas clear amid North Sea fears

The announcement of the move by Friends of the Earth Scotland delivered an implied rebuke to the SNP Government.

“People who work in the oil and gas industry, and the communities that are currently reliant on it, cannot afford to wait any longer for action to support them through the energy transition,” said the organisation. “We’ve seen a rapid decline in the number of jobs in the industry over the last decade, and the failure to properly plan has left workers adrift.”

It added: “We need to see politicians go beyond the empty promises and commit to the meaningful investment and planning needed to make sure our energy transition is truly fair.”

True to form, the SNP manifesto also includes grand talk about Scotland being a green energy powerhouse although the development of huge amounts of renewable energy generating capacity has failed to deliver anything like the boost to the economy predicted.

“Scotland has won the energy lottery not once but twice – but instead of benefiting Scotland’s interests, our energy resources have bankrolled successive UK Governments,” it claims.

The charge puts a fresh twist on age-old claims that Scotland generates more for the UK Treasury than it receives by way of support for public services, which champions of the Barnett formula for the allocation of funding dispute.

It ignores the fact that the development of the renewable energy industry in Scotland has been hugely dependent on the support provided by households across the UK.

READ MORE: SSE and ScottishPower welcome increased support for renewables

The costs of the generous revenue support provided for the developers of windfarms and the like under the Contracts for Difference programme are added to household bills.

Some would say Scotland has benefitted disproportionately from CFD support in recent funding rounds because of the large number of onshore windfarms and marine energy schemes in the country that have won backing.

The Scottish Government must accept some responsibility for the fact that the bulk of the financial benefit generated renewables developments has gone to supply chain firms based outside Scotland.

While the SNP has been in power for 17 years it has failed to take the steps required to ensure that Scotland has developed the capacity required in key areas such as turbine blade production.

It was notable that former First Minister Humza Yousaf decided in October that he needed to launch an offshore wind supply chain fund. Coincidentally, this will be worth £500m.

Scotland fell behind other areas of the UK such as Teesside in terms of vital ports development after the Scottish Government dragged its heels amid objections by the Greens to proposals for freeports.

READ MORE: Giant Scottish hydropower projects in jeopardy amid election uncertainty

The Scottish Government failed to provide the required planning approval for SSE’s giant Berwick Bank windfarm in the outer Firth of Forth in time for the company to bid for support in the latest CFD round.

With big questions remaining about how many green jobs will be created in Scotland in coming years some think it would be folly to squander the remaining potential of the North Sea’s oil and gas resources.

Industry champions say Labour’s plans to hike the windfall tax on North Sea firms and to cut investment allowances could cause devastation.

While the Unite trade union backed last week’s just transition call general secretary Sharon Graham said oil and gas will be part of the energy mix until at least 2050, whether we like it or not.

She warned: “We don’t want to end up losing UK jobs and then relying on supplies from other countries, including undemocratic regimes with dodgy human rights records.”