Today, official statistics were published showing that unemployment in Scotland has risen for the second month in a row. Youth unemployment has topped the 100,000 mark for the first time since these records began in 1992. Things must change.
That’s why today Richard Baker MSP and I visited North Glasgow College to meet students worried about unemployment and their futures.
The students we met are bright, conscientious, young people who want to work and are studying courses such as care, construction and engineering that will help get Scotland’s economy moving again. But they know that one in five of their classmates will not find work at the end of their course.
That is because Scotland is stuck between a Tory government cutting too far and too fast and an SNP government whose economic policy simply isn’t working.
But Labour isn’t just here to criticise – our party must be offering a clear alternative to the failed policies of the Tories and the SNP. That’s why we’ve published a five-point plan for jobs and growth. You can read the plan here: scottishlabour.org.uk/plan
Across the UK, Labour is calling for a national jobs plan to help youngsters find work and get the experience they need to be successful. We want to temporarily reverse the unfair VAT rise, that will put money back into the pockets of hardworking families and help companies with the cost of taking on new staff.
But it is not just the Tories that must act: the SNP government must change course too. They are cutting spending on building roads, bridges, schools, and homes faster than even George Osborne dares to do, and their deep cuts to colleges are dangerous at the very time school leavers need training the most.
In the coming weeks and months, Scottish Labour will be campaigning hard on the need for jobs and growth in Scotland and we have campaign material ready to promote our plan.
Margaret Curran MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland representing Glasgow East at Westminster.