Kenneth Gibson has criticised the UK Government for failing to take Scotland’s unique economic interests into account, after new Tory Prime Minister Theresa May snubbed Scottish Secretary David Mundell MP by excluding him from a new economic taskforce with a remit to encourage economic growth across the UK. The taskforce, consisting of more than 10 secretaries of state, has been launched by Mrs May in an attempt to “drive growth up and down the country” but with the UK Government’s man in Scotland conspicuous by his absence. Questions have been raised at Mr Mundell’s omission from the taskforce given the current challenges facing Scotland’s oil and gas sector.
Separately, there is widespread criticism of the decision to split responsibility for oil and gas between an unelected peer and a junior minister with no prior front bench experience. Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said: “If David Mundell’s job as Scottish Secretary isn’t to be at the top table when his colleagues are making decisions about UK wide economic policy then it’s not clear what his job actually is. “The Tories can’t even claim that the interests of Scotland’s vital oil and gas industries will be represented by the UK Energy Secretary, as they have downgraded that post and divvied up responsibility between an unelected Lord and a newly appointed junior minister. “The SNP Government has made supporting the oil and gas industry during the current period of uncertainty an absolute priority. The SNP will support any measures from the UK Government that will do likewise, but despite raised expectations after a change of government at Westminster it is already starting to feel like Scotland is being left on the outside looking in.”