'No crisis' in North Sea oil jobs, MSP claims
An Aberdeenshire MSP has attracted criticism after claiming there "is no crisis" in North Sea oil employment.
Dennis Robertson made the comment during a Holyrood debate, where he said the North Sea workforce was "booming".
Oil and Gas UK has estimated that 65,000 jobs have been lost during the current downturn in the industry.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Mr Robertson's constituents would find his claims "astonishing".
Mr Robertson made an intervention after Ms Dugdale referred to a "crisis" in employment in the North Sea oil and gas sector.
The SNP MSP said: "There is no crisis. We have just actually extracted more oil than ever before in the North Sea. We have the most skilled workforce in the North Sea and it is booming."
Ms Dugdale responded: "I think the member's constituents will find that an absolutely astonishing remark, as will the 50,000 people directly employed by the oil industry in Aberdeen and the 50,000 people indirectly related to it in the surrounding areas. That truly is an astonishing remark to start this year."
North East Scotland MSP and former Aberdeen Central representative Lewis Macdonald added that Mr Robertson's comments "show that the SNP remain in complete and utter denial about the oil jobs crisis".
Lib Dem representative Alison McInnes described the comment as "a breathtaking display of complacency".
She said: "We were warned last year that 65,000 oil and gas jobs have already been lost and contractors are predicting further redundancies. This is an employment crisis by any definition of the word."
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone added: "Dennis Robertson's remarks are deeply alarming and show he is clearly out of touch with what has been going on in the oil and gas industry.
"His remarks are wildly inaccurate and offensive to those who rely on the oil industry for their jobs and livelihoods."
The industry has struggled due to a sharp decline in the price of oil, with a barrel now costing less than $40 - just over one third of the price 18 months ago.