THE Energy Jobs Task Force that was established by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as the oil and gas downturn triggered thousands of layoffs in the North Sea has been wound up.

Lena Wilson, chair of the taskforce and chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “While there’s still work to do, the taskforce itself has met its original objectives.”

The Scottish Government said the taskforce had provided targeted help to 800 companies while assisting 4,200 people facing redundancy since it was founded in 2015.

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Under the guidance of the taskforce, oil and gas innovation spend almost trebled last year, with £15.9 million of Scottish Enterprise support for 82 companies.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Energy Jobs Taskforce has been a catalyst for culture change, ensuring companies innovate and remain competitive while helping thousands of individuals. It has made a vital contribution to strengthening the oil and gas sector.” She added: “With employment levels beginning to stabilise, the signs of improvement are encouraging ... I fully appreciate that challenges remain.”

The taskforce had its last meeting yesterday.

The work of the taskforce will be taken forward by the Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group, which is co-chaired by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and includes industry figures.