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Youth unemplyment challenge needs Governments to work together

December 15, 2011 1:46 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP challenged the First Minister today on whether he will do the right thing and work constructively with the UK Government, to make sure the Youth Contract is a success in Scotland with young people and businesses benefitting alike.

Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPThe Youth Contract will see the UK Government fund incentives for companies taking on young people, extra support from JobCentre Plus for unemployed 18-24 year olds and an offer of work experience or a sector based work academy place for every unemployed 18-24 year old who wants one.

Commenting Mr Rennie said:

"September's unemployment rates showed a slight improvement but like December's statistics they were nowhere near good enough anywhere in the UK.

"In September, the First Minister made a claim that those slightly better rates were a clear sign of his miracle cure - Plan MacB - which he said was "bearing fruit", and producing "dividends".

"That was then. Now he blames the UK. With the First Minister it's "heads I win, tails you lose". But there is no magic left in that trick.

"The First Minister has said that he is prepared to cooperate with the UK Government to meet the employment challenge we face, but we need confirmation that he will work with the UK Government on delivering the £1billion Youth Contract, with £100million for Scotland.

"The Scottish Government gets £18million but Scottish employers get another £82million direct to help with wages. I don't understand why the First Minister wants to talk this investment down.

"What is the point of trying to sabotage this major scheme that will help thousands of young people back into work?

"Scottish businesses need to know that the Youth Contract applies to them.

"The First Minister needs to make it absolutely clear this is a big scheme, which is good for business in Scotland and good for Scottish young people."