A SPANISH firm allocated £1.5million of public cash after vowing to create 180 jobs has been laying off staff.
Wind turbine maker Gamesa has let about half a dozen employees go from the offshore wind technology centre it opened in August – less than a year after it was told it would get the money.
Backed by a regional selective assistance (RSA) grant from Scottish Enterprise, Gamesa launched the £12.5m site at Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, with 40 staff and hoped to have 100 people in place by the end of last year. It has since also committed to a £125m wind turbine manufacturing facility in the Leith, Edinburgh where 800 jobs were to be created.
That site was described as a "validation" of the Scottish Government's focus on renewable energy by First Minister Alex Salmond.
But according to reports today two Spanish engineers were let go from the centre in March and earlier this month four Scots were moved on.
It is understood there have never been more than 60 people working at Bellshill.
Rhoda Grant, shadow minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, said: "The news calls into question the public money being poured into Gamesa.
"I therefore urge the Government to investigate what has happened."
Around £400,000 of the grant was paid to the firm in February, said a Scottish Enterprise spokesman, with the remainder dependent on targets being hit.
The engineering team at Bellshill was tasked with developing a seven megawatt offshore wind turbine known as G14X.
Michael McMahon, Labour MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill, said: "With these redundancies, I remain to be convinced Gamesa is still committed to the Offshore Technology Centre at Strathclyde Business Park."
David Blunt, director of public policy for Gamesa in the UK, said the redundancies were "regrettable", adding that Gamesa's interest in the UK offshore wind sector "is very much recognised as high priority".
A Scottish Government spokesman said it would continue to support "Scottish Enterprise in their work to help the company develop in Scotland".