THE Scottish Government is considering changing its definition of a “green job” after dramatically failing to hit its previous target for creating them.

SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes revealed she was considering a broader definition while discussing her new 10-year economic strategy at Holyrood’s economy committee.

She said there were “very narrow ways of measuring green jobs” and the government was doing “quite a lot of work” on a more meaningful measurement. 

The SNP set a target of having 130,000 jobs in the low carbon economy by 2020.

However recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of jobs was just 20,500 in 2020, and had declined every year since 2016, when it was 24,000.

The ONS groups 17 industries in the low carbon and renewable energy sector, including offshore and onshore wind, hydropower, nuclear, low-emission vehicles and carbon capture.

But Ms Forbes said she thought other industries ought to be factored in, including real estate and office building that contributed to Scotland’s net zero target.

Labour MSP Colin Smyth pressed her about reasons behind the failure to hit the 130,000 green jobs target and asked what the new target was in her economic strategy.

He said: “On renewable jobs, you said that we’re leading the way, but your government promised 130,000 renewable jobs by 2020.

"The ONS figures show that number is a sixth of that level and it’s falling, so I’m keen to know why you think we’re leading the way if we are so far behind what your government’s target was for renewable jobs.

"And what is your new target for renewable jobs if the 130,000 target is so far off the mark in terms of delivery?”  

However Mr Forbes, who earlier stressed the importance of creating jobs in the supply chain for wind farms and other renewable energy projects, repeatedly refused to give a number.

She said: “In terms of green jobs, we at the moment are doing quite a lot of work internally in the government in terms of trying to measure green jobs, because there are very narrow ways of measuring green jobs.

“But actually there’s a lot of jobs that are being established and created in a number of different industries that you could classify very much as green jobs.

“For example, I recently met with a real estate business which is one of the largest real estate businesses in the world, and they can reference a number of jobs that have been created, including as a result of work in Scotland, which are directly contributing to making non-domestic properties net zero. 

“So at the moment, jobs like that are probably not captured when it comes to being classified as a green job, but they are contributing to making the country as a whole net zero.

“I think right now our approach through this strategy is to say, right, Where are the challenges right now? Let’s meet them head on, and let’s ensure that we build a more robust supply chain.”

Mr Smith said: “It would certainly take a leap to go from 20,500 to 130,000 just by changing the definition, but I would be keen to hear  in the future what the government’s target actually is, however you define it.”