I was disappointed to learn of Virgin Money’s plans to close their Turriff branch in November.
That customers first heard this news on social media before being contacted by the bank is nothing short of a disgrace.
The news first came out on Friday 21 July, with most customers not receiving a letter from Virgin Money until the following Wednesday and Thursday.
I met with senior Virgin Money staff last week and expressed my concerns – including the loss of a valuable local service on which many people depend.
A public meeting on the matter has also been arranged at the Royal British Legion in Turriff, 6:30pm for 7pm, on Wednesday 10 August.
It won’t have gone unnoticed that Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, paid a visit to my constituency last week.
I joined him at the St Fergus Gas Terminal on the day it was announced that the Acorn Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Project was selected as one of the four CCUS clusters across the UK to be operational by 2030.
This announcement comes from an ongoing commitment by the UK Government to deliver 20 to 30 Megtonnes of carbon capture by the end of the decade.
Acorn, as part of what is known as the ‘Scottish Cluster’ was previously announced as the reserve cluster to the two sites – in north west and north east England, which were announced in Track-1 of the cluster sequencing.
Along with Acorn, another cluster – Viking – in south Humberside was selected as part of Track-2 of the sequencing.
Meanwhile, local SNP politicians have repeatedly and deliberately misrepresented this sequencing approach – intended to ensure that the largest quantity of carbon emissions are captured at the soonest opportunity – claiming that somehow, ‘Scotland was snubbed/ignored/abandoned’ for their own narrow political point-scoring purposes.
The truth is work on the Acorn Project has never stopped.
It was always a question of when, not if, this announcement would come.
And this news isn’t the end of the process either, which is why I look forward to continuing to work with the project team and UK Government ministers to support Acorn’s ongoing development.
Unlike the SNP who continue to talk down this fantastic project and the opportunity it presents
The Prime Minister also reconfirmed the UK Government’s commitment to award 100 new oil and gas exploration licences.
We need to get to net-zero, but we need to get there from where we are today – which is still 75% dependent on oil and gas.
Even with new oil and gas fields – including e.g. Rosebank and Cambo – our domestic oil and gas resources will continue to decline, and the Climate Change Committee estimate that even at net-zero, we will still be 25% dependent.
By shutting down our own oil and gas industry too soon, we put at risk our security of supply and over 200,000 jobs across the United Kingdom – but also the skills, technology and supply chains that will be required to deliver the energy transition.
We also make ourselves even more dependent on imports – which can be 3-4 times the carbon footprint of domestically produced hydrocarbons.
Whether it is the SNP’s ‘presumption against oil and gas’ or Labour’s ‘Just Stop Oil’ approach, only the Conservative Party can deliver the sensible and pragmatic approach to deliver, not only energy security but also the energy transition to net zero.