Ensuring future for Grangemouth oil refinery is ‘real priority’, says Starmer

Ensuring a future for Scotland’s only oil refinery is a “real priority”, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Prime Minister said the situation at the Grangemouth refinery is a “cause of concern” and that he will do what he can to ensure that jobs are preserved and “the future is good”.

Petroineos – a joint venture between PetroChina and Ineos – confirmed last year that the complex would operate as normal until at least spring 2025, when it would be transitioned to an oil import terminal.

Sir Keir said he discussed the situation on Sunday with Scotland’s First Minister John Swinney at their first meeting since he became Prime Minister and that both the UK and Scottish Governments agreed to work together on the issue “straight away”.

Sir Keir Starmer’s tour of the UK
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer met Scotland’s First Minister John Swinney at Bute House in Edinburgh (Scott Heppell/PA)

He also said his government is committed to doing all it can over Tata Steel in Port Talbot where around 2,800 jobs are expected to be lost as part of restructuring plans.

Asked in a media interview whether he will commit to saving jobs at Tata Steel and and the Grangemouth plant, Sir Keir said: “I’ve already asked my Secretary of State to work on the Grangemouth issue because I’m very concerned about it. I discussed that this afternoon with the First Minister.

“We have a shared concern, and a shared commitment, a determination to do that, everything that we can – same with Tata Steel.

“These are the early days of my government but I’ve rolled up my sleeves and got on with this because it’s so very important in relation to those jobs and the future jobs that are at stake.”

Sir Keir said he and Mr Swinney discussed issues including the economy and energy at the meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Speaking before the meeting, he told journalists: “I’m very, very concerned about the situation at Grangemouth.

“As the Prime Minister, it is my duty to do what I can to ensure that jobs are preserved and that the future is good, as I’m sure it can be.

“I won’t go into the details but it’s a real priority for me.”

Sir Keir said the UK Government is working “constructively” in relation to Grangemouth and Tata Steel.

The steel giant has shut down one of two blast furnaces at its biggest plant in Port Talbot in south Wales under its plans to switch to a greener form of production while the second blast furnace is due to be shut down in September.