Scottish Labour are set to ‘call time’ on Scotland’s economics-free political debate, focusing on reforming Scotland’s skills regime to stimulate the economy.

Jackie Baillie has backed a consultation document launched by her Scottish Labour colleague Daniel Johnson MSP which will help kick-start the economy and support public services.

The aim of the paper is to stimulate discussion and consider the key challenges facing the Scottish economy following the Covid pandemic, Brexit and the war in Ukraine.

It sets out short and long-term solutions to remedy the issues and promote growth.

This includes addressing skills gaps which exist in the West of Scotland, including in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond, hampering employment opportunities.

Other barriers, including deprivation which can make it more difficult for people to access jobs, gain work experience or gather knowledge on emerging industries or sectors, are outlined.

The intention of the consultation is to engage with experts, businesses and trade unions to bolster the skills of Scotland’s labour force in order to kick-start the economy and support public services.

In place of SNP inaction and Tory economic illiteracy, Scottish Labour is committed to building the economy and jobs of the future.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “For two decades, Scottish politics has been an economics-free zone. That has to end if we are to progress our society and kick-start our economy following several serious challenges.

“I want to see the communities in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond doing better as I know that the people who live here are hard-working and ambitious. It is only through a thriving and growing economy that we can deliver the world class public services and transformative social policies that we need to achieve this.

“Scotland is in the midst of an economic crisis. We need to give our people the skills they require to ensure our future economic prosperity. We must break down the barriers including skills shortages which hamper business in local communities from thriving. We also need ensure that people from deprived areas like Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Balloch are not further disadvantaged when trying to improve their skills and job opportunities.

“That’s why Labour is seeking to start a national debate on how to support Scotland’s workforce to develop their skills and expertise for the economy of the future and I would encourage local businesses, training providers and our people to engage with this, giving your feedback.

“The SNP is not interested in economic development, and the Tories have lost all economic credibility. Only Scottish Labour is prepared to build the economy of tomorrow.”

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