DUNFERMLINE MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has expressed concern at news that Ovo Energy are set to close their site in the town.

The company yesterday announced plans to cut 1,700 jobs and reduce its number of UK offices from 10 to three.

Ms Somerville said she has contacted the company to seek "urgent" answers about the West Fife office.

"I was extremely concerned to hear that OVO Energy plans to shut their Dunfermline base," she said. "This is news that nobody ever wants to hear and the lack of information will only cause more distress and confusion for staff.

"I have written to the company seeking a meeting where I will demand urgent clarification on how their decision will affect local workers."

The company has said it will reverse the policy of off-shoring from the previous owner and create more high-skilled jobs in the UK, and open a new Ovo Academy in Glasgow.

Around 1,000 call centre staff will be trained to become zero-carbon living advisers, with specialist knowledge of green home products and technologies from tariffs to making homes more energy efficient.

The three remaining offices will be in Bristol, Glasgow and London, while more employees will be supported to work flexibly from home should they wish.

Unions have said they will oppose the job cuts, and criticised the Government for “doing nothing” to tackle the energy crisis.

The Unite union said it warned in 2020 that Ovo was taking a risk when it took over the retail base of energy giant SSE.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “We will do everything in our power to defend our members’ jobs.

“All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts.

“We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic.”

Unison’s head of energy Matt Lay said: “Hard-working staff across the company will be devastated as they anxiously await their fate. Closing offices will hit local economies hard too.

“Staff have been dealt a cruel blow. Instead of worrying about star jumps, porridge and cat cuddles, Ovo bosses should have been spending time on the issues that matter. Axing so many public-facing roles will have a huge impact on customers.

“Unions will be pushing managers to hold on to staff and retrain them. Those in at-risk roles must become part of the huge energy-efficiency drive that’s necessary if net-zero commitments are to be met.

“The Government isn’t without blame. Its hands-off approach to energy regulation has been disastrous. Ministers need to roll up their sleeves and get involved before the UK’s entire energy sector goes under.”

Sue Ferns of the Prospect union added: “These job losses are a further result of the crisis in energy retail. The Government needs to urgently look at wholesale reform of the energy retail market, including bringing it under local public control. Consumers and workers are paying the price for a system that simply does not work.

“We hope that Ovo is able to stick to its promise to limit losses to voluntary redundancy. Prospect will be working with the company to mitigate as far as possible the impact of this decision on our members.”