“No shortage of bids” expected for just transition funding

The Scottish Government is looking to back projects that will create jobs and address societal inequality when the first part of its £500million Just Transition Fund opens next week.

Speaking to Energy Voice on the sidelines of the Invest ABZ event in the city on Thursday, Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead said consultation with local businesses and community groups to “co-design” potential projects would be at the core. from the program.

“We don’t want to sit in government offices deciding what’s best for the North East of Scotland – it’s up to the North East of Scotland to work with us and let us know what they think is best for the region,” he said. . “So this co-design approach will be at the heart of what we do.”

When asked if there were any specific initiatives he would like to see implemented, the minister said: “What we are clearly looking for are projects that will create jobs and hopefully also contribute to address some of the inequalities in society.”

Mr Lochhead announced earlier this week that the first tranche of £20million from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund would be open for expressions of interest on May 31.

First offered in the SNP-Green Coalition Program for Government in September and specifically targeting the North East and Moray, the capital is being made available over ten years to help address the transition challenges facing the hand workers and businesses in the region.

As part of this, £1m will also be set aside to directly fund participating communities, allowing them to design and vote on the interventions they want to see progress.

Mr Lochhead said once expressions of interest are received, the government will consider them further and consult with local partners on how best to disburse the funds and deliver the projects.

He said the government had already had initial discussions with public authorities, businesses and community groups, and many had plans that would see the initial sums used for demonstration projects or feasibility studies.

“In saying that, we know there are a lot of projects ready to go, they just need funding, and I don’t foresee a shortage of bids for the funds,” he added.

Guidelines will then be issued to support those who bid for the fund, and the minister said the government intended to work with successful bidders to create the best possible investments in capital programmes.

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