Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged the Scottish and UK governments to work together to secure jobs for BiFab.
The ex-Labour leader said it was time to make good on promises to invest in offshore wind and bring work to the Fife yards.
Mr Brown, who was involved in the fight to save the troubled company, said he will not give up on Fife’s future in renewables.
And he is particularly keen to see the Burntisland yard back at work.
The company took over the troubled firm last month, weeks after BiFab entered administration when removal of Scottish Government support saw the loss of a key contract.
A foothold in the North Sea
Mr Brown said he had worked with trade unions over the winter to continue the fight for Burntisland and Methil.
“Having been brought up in Kirkcaldy, a few miles from Burntisland Shipbuilders, which has been a famous manufacturing name for a century, I still want to see Burntisland and its sister yards at Methil and Arnish get the benefit,” he said.
“And having worked with the yards through difficult times…I want them to have a foothold in a North Sea where wind farms are beginning to multiply.”
I want Fife to get work like this.”
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Mr Brown said he had been pleased to hear Infrastrata say they want Methil to be heavily focused on renewables.
“I was cheered up when the new owners’ chief executive John Wood, who is a Fifer like me, spoke of this as a new ‘footprint in Scotland, which is a hotbed for major windfarm projects’.
“A start could be the contract which is ordering 52 wind jackets for EDF’s North Sea fields.
“The recent tendering is part of a £2 billion investment in North Sea renewables for turbines that will generate enough energy per year to power all of Edinburgh.”
‘Schools can capitalise’
The former Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP said he regretted that 44 orders had gone to Indonesia.
“I want Fife to get work like this,” he said.
“Fife has schools and colleges capable of turning out young people with the skills for the fast-growing renewables industry.
“The councillors I know are ready to move heaven and earth to attract new industry to the east coast of Fife.
“Schools where pupils look out on the sea can capitalise on the Green Sea future that lies ahead of us.
“And at some point I want Burntisland, owned by Forth Ports Authority, back at work.”
A ‘national scandal’
Mr Brown said it was a national scandal that billions of pounds worth of contracts had been awarded in the far east.
“This is despite promises from both the Scottish and UK governments that 60% of offshore renewable work would come to workers and communities here,” he said.
“Last year Boris Johnson pledged that investment in offshore wind will create 60,000 jobs in this country and help us to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2020.
“And the SNP promised Scotland would be the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’.
“It’s time to make good these promises.
“Today, I urge the Scottish and UK governments to lay aside their differences, work together and to do what we’ve been arguing for months – help us get work to the Scottish yards.”
BiFab has an ‘important role to play’
Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said in February that BiFab had an “important role to play in the future of manufacturing in Scotland”.
“I look forward to working with the new owner as it forges a new future for the company,” she said.
“This is also welcome news for the local communities in Fife and the Western Isles.
“The Scottish Government will also engage with Forth Ports, the owner of the Burntisland yard, to help secure the best possible outcome for that yard.”
Bifab was previously owned by Canadian company DF Barnes and lost several hotly-contested contracts for Scottish wind farms.
The Scottish Government removed its financial support in October, saying it had “exhausted the options”.