By Rory Murphy
Scottish Labour has unveiled a £1.2 billion economic recovery plan as part of the ‘biggest job creation scheme’ in the history of devolution.
Dumbarton constituency Jackie Baillie, pictured right, has warned that Scotland needs ‘ambitious action to confront the national jobs emergency’ triggered by Covid.
At the heart of the plan is an offer to ensure that every young person and Scot who has struggled to find work is guaranteed a job, and that people get access to training to equip the country’s workforce for the future.
The £500 million ‘jobs for recovery’ guarantee includes six months of employment – and training – administered through a national platform. The scheme will see people joining the public, private and voluntary sectors in a wide range of roles from administration to grounds and park maintenance and helping the frontline in our care or construction sectors.
Ms Baillie said: “It will be open to every person under 25 who does not have a job, everyone over 25 who has been long term unemployed, and every disabled person who does not have a job.
“The guarantee will provide people at risk of falling out of the job market the essential training needed to restart their careers. These jobs will be additional to current supply so there will be no risk of redundancies in the established workforce.”
Another key Labour policy within this plan is a ‘ New Scottish Skills Benefit’. The policy would help those out-of-work, furloughed or in at-risk industries to retrain to find high-skilled jobs.
Those currently on furlough or Universal Credit – a total estimated to reach around 600,000 by June – would receive an average of £500 to pay for the training in addition to up to £750 for attendance for those who are unemployed, while still guaranteed access to their benefits.
Jackie Baillie added: “Scotland is facing a national jobs emergency – and without urgent ambitious action we could see hundreds of thousands of people facing a future out of work. I know that so many people in our local community have found themselves out of work this year with no idea if or when they will return to the workplace.
“It doesn’t have to be that way – the people of Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh & Lomond deserve a brighter future, which is why stimulating the economy and creating jobs is at the heart of Scottish Labour’s National Recovery Plan.
“We have just months to act, but with ambitious action we can confront this emergency and tackle the emerging jobs crisis.
“This is a guarantee for every young person or unemployed person to have a job or and for everyone who needs it to get access to paid training.
“It is the biggest job creation scheme in the history of devolution – but it is the scale of ambition that is necessary to battle the crisis.
“The cost of doing nothing is even greater – mass unemployment would fall hardest on young Scots, potentially leaving up to 100,000 people out of work.
“Neither Nicola Sturgeon nor Boris Johnson has the ambition to deliver what is needed – and Scotland deserves better than they can offer.
“Scottish Labour will put national recovery before all else and will focus on what unites us, not what divides us.”