The £100m of Scottish Government funding for employment support programmes is ‘lightweight’ Jackie Baillie MSP has said and will be a drop in the ocean when faced with the tsunami of unemployment coming at the end of the furlough scheme.
In response to a Parliamentary Question lodged by Jackie Baillie MSP, the SNP Business Minister, Jamie Hepburn, stated that the Scottish Government would provide an additional £100 million of funding for existing employment support programmes this financial year.
With up to 350,000 jobs at risk with the end of the furlough scheme and the new tier system of lockdown restrictions set to continue to damage businesses through the winter, Jackie Baillie is calling on the Scottish Government to increase the funds available for employment support to avoid a tsunami of unemployment.
Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond said:
“While I welcomes the £100m put aside for employment support, it is clear that this is lightweight compared to what we will need to prevent a tsunami of unemployment.
“Between August 2019 and August 2020 the level of those claiming unemployment benefits rose in West Dunbartonshire from 2,730 to 4,908 that’s a rise of 2,178 people. In Argyll & Bute it rose from 1,405 to 3,221, that’s a rise of 1,816. Unemployment in West Dunbartonshire is sitting at 4.3% and in Argyll and Bute it is 2.6%.
“It’s clear Scotland’s economy is in crisis. We cannot afford to risk the livelihoods of thousands of workers with half measures and penny pinching. It is time for the Scottish Government to consider using some of the £1.2bn of unallocated Barnett consequentials to stem this rising tide in unemployment.
“It is time for the Scottish Government and UK Government to work together to ensure that employment support measures are funded properly.
“We cannot gamble with the futures of thousands of Scots in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute . The time has come for bold and decisive action from the Scottish Government.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Parliamentary Question response:
Jamie Hepburn: The Scottish Government has allocated an additional £100 million of funding for existing employment support programmes this financial year. This includes a further £25 million for National Transitional Funding, £10 million to recruit and retrain apprenticeships and £5 million for PACE.
Additionally the Scottish Government has invested £60 million in the development of a Young Person’s Guarantee. This will include:
- £30 million through local authorities to support local partnerships to deliver employability support
- £10 million directly to colleges
- £10 million additional funding for Developing the Young Workforce, the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy
- £10 million to support pre-apprenticeship activity
We are working with partners including local authorities, Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland to finalise plans that will set out how the additional investment will be used to increase the number and range of opportunities available to young people. Through Young Scot, we are also ensuring young people have the opportunity to shape the Guarantee.