I WANT to start by reminding Tele readers about my cost of living surgery tomorrow in Port Glasgow.

Pop along to 7 ½ John Wood Street anytime between 1-4pm to speak with myself or seek advice from Advice Direct Scotland, Home Energy Scotland, or Social Security Scotland.

Today during FMQs, I asked the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s position is regarding the UK Government’s Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, and any implications it may have for Scotland’s net zero ambitions.

This Bill is yet another attempt by the UK Government to give the impression that it is meeting its international commitments, but it is all ‘smoke and mirrors’ – as described by COP26 President and Conservative MP, Sir Alok Sharma MP, who said he will not vote for it.

In addition, the now former UK Energy Minister, Chris Skidmore, has recently resigned as an MP in protest over the Bill. He said he could not vote for legislation that “clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas” and would show that the UK is “rowing ever further back from its climate commitments”.

Clearly, even those within the Tory party recognise that this UK Government isn’t serious about addressing the global climate emergency.

While it remains true that the nations that have contributed the least to climate change are most at risk to the effects of this emergency, Scotland and the UK is now beginning to witness more extreme weather events because of rising global temperatures. The recent storms and subsequent flooding have had catastrophic effects on people across Scotland – and sadly, these are only expected to continue.

That is why a just transition is so important – so that we not only take meaningful and tangible steps to phase out fossil fuels and expand renewable energy production, but also to ensure those currently working in oil and gas have a future in the energy sector. These workers have valuable skills that are transferrable to renewables, and it’s crucial that as we adapt to respond to the climate emergency, that no one, and no communities, are left behind.

Finally, I want to remind Tele readers that people in work may qualify for Scottish Government benefits.

In Scotland, around one in three people getting Universal Credit are in work, which is a qualifying benefit for several other payments.

Thousands of working people get the Scottish Child Payment and the other benefits which make up Social Security Scotland’s five family payments: Best Start Grants (Pregnancy & Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment) and Best Start Foods.

People in work can also qualify for Adult Disability Payment, as the criteria is not based on employment or income, and one-off payments including Winter Heating Payment and Funeral Support Payment.