Katherine Sangster’s View – Jobs Recovery plan to guarantee jobs for the under 25s

Wednesday April 21st 2021


Midlothian View Holyrood Challenge: This View has been written by Katherine Sangster, the Scottish Labour Party's and Scottish Co-operative Party's candidate in the Midlothian South, Tweeddale & Lauderdale constituency for the Scottish Elections on Thursday May 6th 2021

Covid has impacted peoples lives in so many ways but new data out this week shows that young people are bearing the brunt of the Covid jobs crisis. Just over half of people who dropped off the UK payroll in the last year were under 25, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show 80% were under the age of 35. In the UK since Covid, 813,000 jobs have disappeared from the UK payroll since March 2020 and 53.7% of those roles were done by people under 25.

The number of under 25s in employment has now hit a record low. As well as losing jobs, young people are also struggling to get into employment. With lockdown easing and the success of the vaccine rollout we need to do everything possible to support young people into work. Whilst this is an UK wide problem we cannot sit on our hands, we must use the next session of the Scottish Parliament and the powers of our parliament to tackle this jobs crisis head on.

Without bold action, Scotland faces an unemployment crisis that will become a national emergency. The scale of the problem that confronts us requires a response equally as ambitious as our initial response to the pandemic. That is why we are proposing the most ambitious jobs creation plan in the history of devolution – as anything short would not meet the needs of Scotland’s recovery.

This is the centrepiece of our National Recovery Plan and it ensures that every young person and Scot who has struggled to find work is guaranteed a job and that everyone get access to training to equip the country’s workforce for the future. We cannot risk anyone being left behind. It is Scottish Labour’s first national mission to ensure that everyone who wants a job can get a job.

This mission demands a collective effort from the government, the wider public sector, the private sector and the trade unions to focus Scotland on action in this area.

Our Jobs Recovery plan features the following key policies;

Providing good work for those who need it

The Scottish public sector will guarantee that those not benefitting from other jobs schemes can apply to join the public sector for an average of six months. The scheme 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.  We will also establish a mechanism whereby charities and the private sector can apply to ‘host’ these scheme applicants at a reduced cost to employer for the duration of their placement.

Training the workforce of the future

Those who are unemployed, or currently on furlough to receive £500 to up-skill or retrain while guaranteed furlough / Universal Credit benefits. The unemployed will receive a further £750 in income support, to reflect tuition and study time and amounting to c.80 hours at Living Wage.

Supporting Job Creation

We will reinvigorate apprenticeships across Scotland, targeting 5,000 new places in the next financial year, to be subsidised at minimum wage for the first 12 months, provided employers contribute to keeping them on.

A Public Sector for Public Good

Committing to ending Zero Hours Contracts within Public Sector Procurement, and Advocating for a ‘Better Business Scotland’

I am proud to be standing for a party that is willing to put ambitious actions in place to confront the national jobs emergency triggered by COVID. The people of Scotland deserve a bright future and MSPs who want to use the extensive powers of the Scottish Parliament to change lives.

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