Alex Salmond is facing fresh calls to apologise to Parliament for misleading MSPs, this time over green jobs in Scotland.
The First Minister exaggerated the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector by 7,000 in Holyrood last month.
The SNP leader told MSPs on October 25 that there were 18,000 jobs created by industries such as windfarms, but this has been refuted by Scottish Renewables, which says only 11,000 jobs are supported.
And a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister has corrected the Parliament’s official report to make it clear there are 11,000 jobs supported by Scotland’s renewable energy sector.”
It is the second time in a week that the Scottish Government has confessed giving inaccurate answers to Parliament. Mr Salmond was forced to apologise last week for telling MSPs that college funding was increasing in Scotland – when it is actually falling. Mr Salmond claimed he had mis-read the figures in his briefing note.
Scottish Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith said: “This was clearly a misleading answer by the First Minister, who overestimated the number of jobs created by renewables considerably.
“It’s not the first time this month Alex Salmond has given inaccurate figures to Holyrood, and this has to stop. We know the SNP is obsessed with wind energy, but over-egging the benefits in such a spectacular way is not how to win the argument.
“He must now come to parliament and explain why he misled – is he just going to blame an inaccurate briefing again, or that he gave the figure in good faith?”
The Government spokesman added that renewable energy is a “fast-growing industry” with offshore wind alone having the potential to create up to 28,000 jobs across Scotland.
She added: “That requires the kind of consistent, unwavering public support shown by this Government, its agencies and by the First Minister himself, who just this week joined French turbine-maker Areva in announcing a deal that could create 750 manufacturing jobs in the east of Scotland.”
But Labour’s Richard Baker said the latest episode shows that the First Minister “lies instinctively.”
He added: “When asked about the number of jobs in renewable energy he tells the people of Scotland 18,000 but that’s simply not true.
“He doesn’t even apologise, he just gets the Tipp-Ex out and changes the official record. When Alex Salmond is asked if he has legal advice on Europe he says yes – but that’s not true either.
“Just last week on college funding he boasted to parliament that he was giving the most exact answer ever given to any parliament – and then a couple of hours later he was dragged back to admit he had misled Parliament. Alex Salmond seems incapable of telling the truth and clearly thinks he can treat the people of Scotland for fools.”
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