On the day that the Scottish Government publishes its Youth Employment strategy, KEZIA DUGDALE sets out the size of the challenge ahead and what Labour would do differently.


“Is it always going to be like this? When will there be jobs?”

That’s what you get when you give a group of young people on an employability programme the chance to ask a politician absolutely anything.

The situation is stark: 88,000 18-24 year olds out of work, up 8000 from the previous three months; a stalling economy; rising living costs; falling wages; cuts to public services and support; college bursaries and budgets slashed.

The picture facing Scotland’s youth is nothing short of a national crisis.

And a crisis demands action not excuses from a Scottish Government only too willing to throw their hands in the air and proclaim “if only we had the levers of power to do something about it.”

Despite their constant assertions, the Scottish Government are not powerless to change this situation. They can not only mitigate the worst of these effects but proactively reverse this trend and get our young people into work. But it takes the political will to turn the engines of government toward the same end with a coherent overarching strategy.

And such a strategy must start with the reversal of the ridiculous and counter-productive cuts proposed to college budgets and their students’ bursaries. This policy is a double-hit on the economy and our young people. Not only will it discouraging people from taking up places now, but in the future our economy may not be equipped with the necessary skills to take full advantage of that up-turn.

The Government are correct however to say that there’s no one size fits all solution to youth unemployment. Nobody in their right mind could argue that the needs of a 23 year old graduate are the same as a 16 year old care leaver.

What is essential however is a national youth employment strategy that seeks to progress the needs of both, in harmony, in Scotland’s wider economic interest. That’s what I hope we’ll get from the Angela Constance when she unveils her strategy today.

And I sincerely hope that the strategy recognises the crucial roles that the private, public and third sector all have to play and the Scottish Government’s role in driving the agenda across all three.

There’s no doubt that the private sector’s role is crucial and job creation naturally follows a prospering economy. But employers want recruits who are not only qualified for the job in hand, but also equipped with the softer skills to cope with a life of work.

That’s where the 3rd sector comes in – they uniquely recognise that young people are anything but a homogenous group.

To give just two examples, there are firstly those young people who are job ready but currently cut out of the job market. Predominantly because of the displacement which sees over-qualified graduates filling positions – only too grateful for the opportunity to work at all – they wouldn’t naturally fill in easier economic times. The challenge is to keep these young people as economically active as possible – engaged in quality, paid work which enhances both their CV and their confidence. That’s where schemes like the Community Jobs Fund prove so valuable – and should be extended beyond March of this year. Its future hangs in the balance of Ms Constance’s considerations.

Then there are those young people who are furthest removed from the job market, coming from areas where three generations of workless households are not uncommon; for whom school ‘wasn’t for them’ and until picked up by the system play computer games into the night and sleep till midday.

Getting these young people to believe in themselves and their lives enough to get to a training programme five days in a row at nine in the morning is a challenge. Put these young people straight into a work experience programme and you’ll fail them, and the employer willing to give them a chance, because they’re simply not equipped to cope.

Big organisations like Rathbone and Barnardo’s, and many other smaller more local focused organisations like the Canongate Youth Project, have impressive track records of lifting drifting young people out of inertia in to sustainable work. Filled with people who know that the key to success is not just a list of willing employers but a raft of support workers ready to get to know the young people they’re working with. Willing to work through their troubles with them to unleash their potential.

Any youth employment strategy worth its salt will recognise the long term value of this human investment in the lives of these young people too often let down by the system.

Finally I hope that – despite their assertions that ‘it is not for government to create jobs – the Scottish Government recognise the potential the public sector has for job creation. A fully formed Youth Employment strategy must ensure that every department and every government agency looks at its books and considers what contribution it could make to tackling this crisis.

Public sector apprenticeships, across all sectors, should grow. Every local authority should be encouraged to have their own youth employment strategy in place. Every Community Planning Partnership seeking to link their capital and employability programmes. Every faculty of Government focused on the prize of avoiding another lost generation.

It may suit the cause of the SNP Government to talk down the powers of the Scottish Parliament – but the reality is that Scotland’s future simply cannot wait for jam tomorrow. They need jobs today.

Kezia Dugdale is Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Youth Employment – @kdugdalemsp


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65 thoughts on “When will there be jobs?

  1. Sadly predictable as always, strategy, strategy, strategy. It’s not too difficult we need to expand and grow the economy this will create jobs, I had a look at the CV’s of labour MSP’s not much experience of being self employed or being in a SME business to understand how organic employment takes place.

    But hey I am sure labour will explain where the magic funds will come from, because normally when you ask this question the tumbleweed follows.

  2. 500 new jobs coming to Methil in the offshore generation business.

    Of course we should all be sad that they are coming to Methil and not to Teeside as we are all members of the same UK family.

    1. Didnt see the Scottish Government doing much to help those renewable jobs come to Dundee – they seemed quite happy to see them float off down south….

      1. Whats the matter John to chicken to reply?

        Good old Labour run away and hide.

  3. What a joke!

    Labour backs the idea that Economic powers should remain with a Conservative led government in London rather than be with the government the Scottish people elected.

    And then they pretend to be concerned about the effects of Tory policies!!!

      1. “you dont need economic powers to create jobs” — you have to be kidding. You cannot honestly believe that having financial and economic control does not make it a lot more effective to producting viable jobs.

        1. i said nothing about the effectiveness of not using those powers, although I think the jury is out on that one.

          Labour’s Future Jobs Fund, for instance, was implemented without the need for fianancial and economic control. Scottish Labour proposed a similar scheme if it had been elected last may. During its operation it not only gave young unemployed people much needed work experience, it helped tens of thousands into employment.

          How about getting council’s to use their borrowing powers to build more housing? You dont need to control interest rates to do that. Oh I forgot, an independent Scotland wont be controlling its own interest rates!

          1. For the record, the UK government doesn’t control interest rates either – the independent Bank of Englands set interest rates. With Scottish independence, the bank of England would continue to set interest rates for Scotland, as it does just now. However, Scotland would gain full fiscal powers with independence – something we are denied in the current constitutional settlement.

          2. “JOHN”, the last thing that you and labour can shout about is housing. Your record on council house building during your last two terms in office is “SIX” thats right a grand total of “SIX” council house’s built for the whole of Scotland. Some record that eh.

          3. So, the last labour administration didnt have a good record. But is that really a reason for the SNP not to do as much as they should? Doesnt matter if hundreds of thousands of Scots are out of work, as long as we’re doing slightly better than under Labour?

          4. Short memory “John”, you seem to forget that labour had quite a bit to do with the current economic downturn that has put these hundreds of thousands of Scots out of work. And during your denial just remember your partys amazing ability to vote against increasing modern appreticeships for the youth of Scotland during the last paraliment.

      2. Okay, John. Prove that assertion. Go and create some jobs without any economic powers to do so.

        I dare you. I double dare you.

        Let us all know how you get on.

  4. “And such a strategy must start with the reversal of the ridiculous and counter-productive cuts proposed to college budgets and their students’ bursaries.”

    If only Scotland was in full control of its own budget. I wonder what could achieve that?

    1. If only the cuts to college budgets were as small as the ones the Tories are doing down ni England. But they’re not. They much larger. Maybe Mr Russell is doing this to “force the pace for regionalisation [mergers]”.

      His words, not mine.

      1. You know going to college won’t automatically get you a job.

        There may well be issues around college funding, I don’t really know enough about it to say.

        But I think there is a danger of too much focus going on making youngsters more “employable” whether through going to college or extra training or so on, as though the reason many of them are having trouble getting secure employment is to do with their own qualities.

        It really isn’t. They are eminently employable. The problem is the jobs aren’t there because of the state of the economy, banks aren’t lending, companies aren’t growing and taking on new employees etc. We can all see what is happening.

        In these circumstances it is the new entrants to the job market and people who are in insecure part-time employment – usually women – who are getting it in the neck. So there needs to be a focus on them in particular, everyone agrees on that, but equally let’s not go overboard on the whole employability mantra.

        Yes there are some people out there who do need extra help to make them employable but the vast majority of women and youngsters out there looking for work are perfectly employable right now and are doing all the things they should be doing to get work – and sometimes being prevented by the stupid benefit system.

        The problem does not lie with them, it lies with the wider economy.

  5. Does anyone take articles like this seriously any more? Why bother typing up junk like this? Strategy this, and confidence that and blah, blah, blah… as if some training program is the key or getting kids away from the xbox is the problem. So, so far removed from reality.

    But, you know what? Nobody listens to Labour any more. Not since they sold their souls to middle England, sacraficing the lives, hopes, and aspirations of so many millions as they did so. Labour and Tories and are now two wings of the same party: the business party. People see right through it.

    As for youth unemployment. If you’re not going to suggest a serious strategy, spare us the waffle. The YOP and YTS junk doesn’t wash any more.

    Consider an alternative: Scotland in control of its own resources decides to invest broadly and persistently in engineering and technology, creating jobs and giving its economy a continuing edge in key industrial sectors for years to come. Real jobs, real engineering and manufacturing, that provide real value.

    We’re sick of the gaping lies and paralysis. The problems in the economy are obvious and weaning kids from xbox will not fix them; the solutions are obvious too. If you’re not going to do anything meaningful that’s fine, just don’t subject us to any more of your feigned concern. You’ve got your job and your lifestyle and in some perverse state of delusion you somehow convince yourself that what you are doing has import. If we listened it would make us vomit, having listened to it for so long, but, thankfully, as I said, we aren’t listening to Labour.

      1. He’s obviously commenting because he’s interested. I doubt the vast majority are listening.

        I read the whole piece. There’s very little to go on. There’s very few substantive points made. Obviously the cuts are the main issue and the economy needing to grow.

        All this talk about college places is a smokescreen. Young people do need valuable qualification – and to be educated is a good thing for our economy – but what they need to tie in with is a job at the end of it. Personally, I see no reason why we keep churning out thousands of people on NQs. Give these people a job for goodness sake. College places is one part of a process. Colleges don’t create the jobs.

    1. Labour and the Tories aren’t the only ones cosying up to business, whether it’s the Lib Dem’s conference being sponsored by a payday loan company or the SNP being bankrolled by a bus company tycoon, it seems to be a feature of modern politics.

      For what it’s worth, at least I feel Labour supporters are critical of Labour getting too pally with the City. Ed Miliband has said that in government they were too close to the city and the media. At least we’ve admitted it and are trying to change. (It’s certainly not an aspect of New Labour that I was comfortable with).

      I’m not sure the same can be said for the SNP cosying up to Stagecoach and flatly denying that it is affecting their transport policies, or Salmond lavishing praise for a Goodwin deal that brought down RBS or allowing Trump to build his golf course regardless of the environmental cost and what local landowners want. We rarely see SNP supporters breaking rank to hold their party to account on bus regulation. It’s this misplaced loyalty that worries me, why won’t you tell your politicians when they get it wrong?

      Labour did good things and bad things in office, more good than bad I’d say. But when they did bad, we told them so.

      You can kid yourself all you want that the SNP will be a party of principal and create a land for the people rather than business, but it’s odd that they seem to see reducing corporation tax as a priority.

      Your leader is the ‘banker who got it wrong on the banks, the economist who got it wrong on the economy – and a Scottish First Minister who is getting it wrong for Scotland’. Hardly a champion of socialist values.

      1. Yet he led his party to the first majority government in Scotland, his personel popularity rating is vastly higher than any other political leader in the UK at this moment in time, and somehow his party avoided giving Mr Goodwin a “Knighthood” and most people believe his government are doing a good job with the limited powers they have, hence the election result.
        Oh and as for cosying up, hows your supermarket sponsors doing?

      2. What an interesting take on the problem Pamela. I’m glad you appear to be arousing yourself out of the stupor of the usual Labour negativity but admitting the failings of our Labour Party goes against our docrine.

        Your call for a champion of socialist values is admirable. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen one of those at Westminster for many a decade, and his sense of dress was rather disappointing.

        When the dynamic Ms Dugdale used such phrases as

        “What is essential however is a national youth employment strategy that seeks to progress the needs of both, in harmony, in Scotland’s wider economic interest. That’s what I hope we’ll get from the Angela Constance when she unveils her strategy today”

        the juices certainly start to flow. What is actually means, nobody knows, but at my age, you need all the help you can get.

        1. “we haven’t seen one of those at Westminster for many a decade”

          yes, we certainly dont see that from the SNP MPs who sit there.

  6. Not a single clue in that piece as to where the funding is to be found, this party got the hiding of their lives in the last Holyrood election yet the the same old spin is spun again, people are sick to the back teeth with Labour and their empty promises!

    “Social inequalities” is the latest spin, which, for the record, increased dramatically under 13 years of Labour in Westminster.

    Do or say something original…………we are sick of listing to empty promises,

    1. The Scottish Government gets £29billion of money each year. It can spend that in anyone of a number of ways. It can raise additional money through a variety of methods. It can encourage and enable local authorities to raise money in a number of ways.

      It makes its choices. This is what we think its priorities should be.

      1. The 2009-10 GERS report (compiled by Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) revealed that Scotland contributed 9.4% of UK public sector revenue while receiving 9.3% of total expenditure.

        And yet we are constantly told that we are subsidised and the £29 Billion should be cut back!

          1. Let me explain it for you:
            You state what the Scottish parliament gets to spend and that it can raise more if it wishes – I have pointed out the Scotland already pays a bigger share of taxation than what it gets in expenditure. Why should Scotland pay more tax when we already subsidise the rest of the UK?

            Is that clearer?

          2. But my comment was about priorities and choices. Your comment is a whinge about subsidising everyone else.

            Leaving aside that, what has your comment got to do with a choice made by the SNP Government to cut College budgets by more than the UK government cut theirs by (and so, the SNP is spending “college money” on something else).

  7. amazing that Labour never thought of all these big ideas when they ran Scotland for about 50 years and Glasgow for nearly 70. That probably explains why Glasgow is still European capital of poverty and crime and all the deprived areas of Scotland are in Labour constituencies including the dreadful Gordon Brown’s of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. – by the way where is Gordon representing his constituents today – is it Dubai or somewhere else he can make a fortune? Clearly none of Labour’s plans ever worked if they had any. Fortunately we have an SNP GOvernment whose intrinsic aim is to make Scotland a better place and they are bringing inward investment which is now outstripping London (FactCheck) – oh and 500 new jobs to be created in Fife. What’s wrong with Labour in Scotland – are they ashamed that they couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything but sit at Westminster until the ermine came along. More Lords than any other party and you have the neck to call yourselves Labour!

    1. “More Lords than any other party and you have the neck to call yourselves Labour!”

      This is something I have always found very difficult to reconcile; a supposed ‘party of the working man’ that elevates its members to the aristocracy, perpetuating the very class system it is supposed to be against. Why did Labour never end the unelected house of ‘Lords’ when they have had ample opportunities over the last century?

      I know one party that does not do lordships, making them far more honourable in my eyes.

    2. Did Labour “run Scotland” when teh Tories got a majority of the vote? Did they run Scotland for the 18 years of Tory rule in Westminster? Did they ruin Glasgow when the tories had control of Strathclyde in the 70’s?

      1. The Tories never, ever controlled Strathclyde – I think you are getting confused with the Lothian Regional Council which they did control once.

  8. to be fair to Kesia, she does seem to care about the youth of Scotland and was brave enough to put her head on the block and say she backed votes for 16 and 17 year old’s.
    However unless Labour begin to support the SNP when they bring forward plans to get more powers for the Scottish parliament, then they will never credibly convince anyone except their own followers that they would be prepared to put the people of Scotland before their own career, or before whats best for the labour parties political agenda (usually oppose the SNP)
    I don’t know if kesia’s willingness to say she supports votes for 16/17 year olds was a flash in the pan, or if she is perhaps a new breed of labour politician who is no longer willing to be gagged by the leadership, but if she really want’s to help the youth of Scotland she needs to begin to publicly support policies that the SNP put forward for more powers for the Scottish parliament, Because whatever extra job creating policies we decide to implement, they will cost some money.
    How about if labour support the SNP and over %60 of the Scottish people to loby for a percentage of the oil money to be given to Scotland ? labour can tell the SNP that they want say %30 of the money raised to go into youth job creation if they (SNP) want their (labour) support for the policy.
    With both parties supporting it, Westminster would find it very difficult to sasy no. the people of Scotland would benefit and the political leaders of Scotland will have been seen to have worked together for Scotland’s common benefit.
    So C’mon Kesia, unless your article was just more Labour rhetoric, what’s not to like about that ?

    1. I agree, things would be better if everyone worked together.

      Now when is Alex Salmond going to start having those cross-party talks with Scottish Labour… oh yes, he isnt, is he? He’s ignored Johann Lamonts offer of constructive talks on these issues for weeks.

      Its all very well for the First Minister to say he wants to achieve consensus, but then defines it as everyone agreeing with him!

        1. You probably dont know, because Alex hasnt told you. Johann Lamont has offerred cross-party talks on the indepedence referendum.

          But presumably, because the SNP does not have a monopoly on wisdom, its not having any cross-party talks.

          1. I should say not!!!!

            Good Lord I think we all know where the Tories and Lib Dems stood on that issue after the UK Government’s intervention and issuing of a hastily written consultation specifically designed to try and pre-empt the Scottish Government”s consultation – and Margaret Curran backed that to the hilt.

            So what was to discuss about that? Not a lot.

            Now that the Scottish Government has issued its consultation I am sure that the Scottish leaders will be invited to talks.

            And on that note I would say that I think it’s a great that all the party leaders are supporting equal marriage – that is an example of consensus that I’m sure people across the spectrum will be pleased with.

          2. Your bluster is worse than Salmond’s! He has only now agreed to cross-party talks after weeks of pressure from Johann, and the idea that he didn’t because of the actions of Westminster politicians is laughable.

            Oh, and not all the party leaders have signed up to the pledge to support marriage equality. Salmond has not. Clearly he feels he cannot express a personal view on the subject for fear of upsetting the Gordon Wilsons of this world.

          3. Scottish labour have fought against the Scottish people having their say in a referendum for how many years now? And yet you expect the SNP to jump when Lamont suddenly demands cross party talks?

            Get real. It’s Lamont’s bluster that’s fooling no one.

      1. hasn’t anyone told you that Alex has agreed to cross party talks John ?
        Of course Johann was shouting about this before the consultation document was even released, knowing full well that this wasn’t going to happen, however typical labour she and her friends just kept shouting and yelping about it ‘no being fair’
        As had already been indicated Alex agreed to the talks on the very day the document was presented to the Scottish parliament, yet here we have you labour people still yelping that alex hasn’t agreed to it and yelping that it’s no fair.
        Luckily Duncan seems to know a bit more than John and admits that Alex Salmond has indeed agreed to the talks…but then of course he qualifies this by claiming it’s a bit late in the day bla bla bla.

        Yes guys and gals, you keep this up, it’s really going to win the hearts and minds of the people of Scotland.

  9. Youth unemployment ‘disaster’

    The numbers are stark: In some countries of the Arab world, up to 90% of 16-24 year olds are unemployed. In the United States the youth unemployment rate is 23%. In Spain nearly 50%. In the UK 22%.

    Worldwide, some 200 million people are unemployed. 75 million are between 16 and 24 and every year about 40 million young people are entering the workforce.

    As we are living in a ‘pocket money’ financed economy. What are you going to cut to reduce the revenue the budget to put into the capital the budget to provide government jobs which is the only way to increase employment in a global downturn?

    1. Duncan – ‘pressure fro Lamont’…are you having a laugh.
      As for marriage equality…maybe not everyone supports it…ever thought of that?

  10. I remember reading a previous article from Kezia and commenting positively. It’s obvious that that, not only does she care about the problem of youth unemployment, but has knowledge of various organisations involved and is committed to doing something about it.

    Unfortunately the statement,

    ‘And a crisis demands action not excuses from a Scottish Government only too willing to throw their hands in the air and proclaim “if only we had the levers of power to do something about it.” ‘

    Is specious, unworthy nonsense.

    And, as commented on above, at no point is there any suggestion about what cuts may would be made in other budgets to pay for her suggested spending.

    After the budget debate last week John Swinney invited contributions from the other parties providing they could say where they would make the cuts elsewhere to pay for it – that seems to me to a straight forward equation.

    So Kezia, how much money is required (I assume you have done the sums) and which budget(s) would you cut.

  11. One really simple change that needs to happen. Alter the benefit rules so that youngsters can do voluntary work and get paid expenses without being penalised. Because at the moment they can be if they work beyond a certain number of hours which are set quite arbitrarily as far as I can see. It’s maybe a minor point but when you see bureacracy putting barriers in the way of people who want to gain the experience that will help them get a job it’s quite infuriating. It’s also infuriating when you hear people saying the problem is that they don’t have the soft skills etc. There are a lor of them out there trying to gain those skills and the “buroo” is stopping them. Stupid.

  12. As the latest Ipsos-Mori poll reveals for the poorer sections in Scotland independence is now seen as the only hope for improvement in their lives.

    To answer the question;

    When will there be jobs?

    When Scotland gains its independence!

  13. Don’t be so childish Duncan you know perfectly well Alex Salmond supports equal marriage, he is on record saying that.

    As regards saying that what Westminster politicians do was irrelevant to talks on the referendum are you kidding? Margaret Curran is Shadow Scottish Secretary. She is presumably therefore answerable to Johann Lamont and Johann Lamont must have signed off what she said and the attitude that she took in support of the UK Government.

    Now that the UK Government has recognised that it cannot really impose conditions the situation has changed. But at the time (I assume) that Johann Lamont was making her calls for meetings the Scottish Government consultation had not even been published, so what exactly was she wanting to have discussions about? And what on earth made her think that there was any point when her colleagues in Westminster were at that exact time lining up behind Michael Moore?

    Even at this stage I am not all that clear what Scottish Labour have to contribute because their response to every suggestion seems to be no no no. If they had one single positive idea it might be different. Also they have effectively ceded their role as leaders of the opposition on this issue, as it were, to Michael Moore & co. There are of course talks ongoing between the various ministers about the logistics and details. What role does Scottish Labour see itself playing there?

  14. When I worked in Nigeria (for 15 years mostly on a educational aid programme) the Nigerian government came up with an inspired National Youth Service Corp. On it young people who had finished their education were taken on in schemes in parts of Nigeria to which they did not belong. They were fed and housed and had a small stipend. Most of the young Nigerians were gagging to get onto it and it worked very well if somewhat “nigerian” in organisation (ie totally and shambolically disorganised). But for many of the young people it was exactly the jolt they needed to take them out of the comfort zone and on to better things.

    O/T I do hope Kezia gets on the right side in due course. We can do without our bright young politicians sailing off into political oblivion

  15. I have always voted Labour but enough is enough. Labour had the chance to help the young but bottled it. To blame Salmond is just crazy, we made a mess of it and it’s time we woke up to the fact. We are not ready for government because we don’t know who we represent or what it is we need to do. We are too negative and just moan. Salmond shows us up time and time again. Johann Lamont is not the answer, nor is miliband. It is us who are fuelling Salmond’s drive for independence and we should get used to the fact it is likely to happen.

  16. Hold on a minute. The Scottish Government has at its disposal a whole range of powers over various policy areas. A government which controls transport and infrastructure, environment, further and higher education, health and urban regeneration policy is able to affect youth unemployment.

    A government which makes decisions about what we build and who we educate can create new jobs. It’s absolute fallacy to suggest otherwise.

    1. It’s an absolute fallacy to suggest that fiscal powers are unimportant. The Scottish parliament has to operate on a fixed budget!

      Time for real powers so we can make a real difference.

      1. Again, no one is saying they are unimportant. They are asking why hasnt the SNP done something with the powers and money it DOES have.

        Or is it much happier having people in poverty, if it helps makes the case for independence?

        1. I agree with you that there is marginal things that can be done. However, let’s face it, there is hardly anything between the Labour party and the SNP on these very marginal things. SNP are more or less the same as Labour except the independence afforded by it being entirely Scottish and not in hock to London affords it a little more room to create policies for Scottish needs.

          Clearly in order to facilitate economic growth we need powers to do so. I honestly can’t understand how that is being misunderstood? Yes there are things that can be done with the powers we have. But it’s marginal politics. They aren’t going to demonstrably improve matters or Labour would have had them in their five point plan. I mean education is the one thing that, in my opinion, would have gathered thousands of votes for the SNP. Free higher education for our young people! We have a government prepared to maintain that even after the London cabal have lost it. They don’t talk about the principle of not having to pay; Labour/Tories/Libs all talk about what is the best way of paying! I think Labour are especially weak on education. Lib Dems have all but disintegrated because of it.

        2. All well and good if “they” (Labour) are suggesting a credible alternative. Kezia Dugdale suggests increased spending on college budgets and apprenticeships. Is that credible? She already talks about graduate trickle down, where college graduates are struggling to find jobs. Experienced people and well qualified graduates are struggling to find work because the economy is struggling and the jobs market contracted accordingly. Will spending more money, when there’s less to go around, to make more college graduates who can’t find work be the answer?

    2. And they do impose conditions on those kinds of projects, they have to take on a certain number of apprentices and so on. But the major problem new entrants to the job market is facing is within the private sector – remember 75 petr cent of people work in the private sector not the public sector and the private sector is in crisis because of the state of the economy. Because they can’t get fianance from the banks and because their profit margins are falling due to the fact that we are all spending less money these days. That means more people being laid off and they are taking up many of the jobs that might have gone to new entrants in the past. There are things the Scottish Government can do and is doing to rebalance that but their capital spending has been cut by nearly 40 per cent so it’s just as important to try and attract more investment and create new jobs in the private sector as well. That is where more extensive financial powers would come in handy.

  17. I work with young people in a local authority and increasingly we are dependent on funding programmes from big lottery and the like for employability projects.

    The government has introduced activity agreements for those not in employment, education and training, however they stipulated that as little as 2 hours a week could be counted as a positive destination for a school leaver.

    There used to be money for our apprenticeship schemes where young people got work experience combined with qualifications, however as the council tax freeze has continued to bite our programmes are massively scaled back.

    As for needing financial levers to create jobs the govt already has some that it has so far failed to use. The scottish govt, under Labour’s devolution settlement for Scotland included tax varying powers which so far they have failed to use to create more jobs.

    1. It affords us to vary rate of income tax. I doubt putting income tax up is going to encourage confidence in the economy. People are already taxed to the hilt as it is. Normal people that is. Yes, I’m using the word normal. People on £16,000 gross a year; working hard. People at the top should be taxed at a higher rate. Do we have the ability to vary the tax bands, out of curiosity?

      The people voted for a parliament with tax varying powers. We should have tax varying powers. Why is it that we should have some powers, we can vary a, b and c but not x, y and z? Why are we so special that we can vary our income tax but Yorkshire can’t? We’ve already assumed that Scotland is not a region and should have a different type of government. Why can’t we stop pussy footing around and start being responsible. With responsibility comes accountability. And with accountability comes better governance and ultimately good democracy.

  18. The headline of this article contains the words, “KEZIA DUGDALE sets out the size of the challenge ahead and what Labour would do differently.” To me, it looks like the only two concrete examples you give Kezia, is reversing the cuts to college budgets and increasing apprenticeships. Won’t both of these cost money? In the face of cuts to the Scottish government’s block grant, that money would have to be taken from elsewhere. Where do you think it should be taken from?

    The Labour position surely can’t be that increased powers for the Scottish parliament wouldn’t strengthen the Scottish government’s ability to tackle areas such as youth unemployment? Is your issue that the powers now are enough and more wouldn’t help or is your issue that the focusing on getting more powers detracts from other efforts or is it both? Surely if more powers would help, then trying to get those extra powers is actually helping to tackle things like youth unemployment, in the long term?

  19. In response to the post above, and I must admit this one passed me by, the SNP Govt gave away Scotland’s tax varying powers by failing to pay the £50,000 to HMRC to keep the collection system viable. Isn’t that giving power away? The opposite of what we are told they want.

    1. Yes, it is. However, I think we have to recognise the difference between a simple tax varying power which the voters rejected the use of at the first parliament elections and no Scottish government has dare used again, and the full range of economic powers available to a government. Labour cannot always dodge this issue by deflecting silly claims towards the SNP. Is it really sensible to say, “We’d make the best government for Scotland, these are all our wonderful plans and policies. Incidentally, we’d rather not have the powers to be able to implement them more effectively.”?

      Labour’s steadfast refusal to say anything other than “no” isn’t going to do them any favours.

  20. I think you’ll find tha the power lapsed during the previous Labour/Libdem administration and the incoming SNP administration didn’t think it important to reverse this as they had no intention of using the powers.

  21. I know I’ve come to this thread a bit late, but I felt I had to answer some of the comments coming from people who are not entirely in agreement with Kezia Dugdale’s contribution.

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