Stuart McMillan and Roseanna Cunningham at Ferguson Marine
From Stuart McMillan’s site:
SNP Pledge to Treble Jobs Funding for Long Term Unemployed
Stuart McMillan MSP has welcomed Scottish Government funding to help people into jobs – and has stated that this could help many residents in Inverclyde.
The SNP has today pledged £20m to treble employability funding in the first year it is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This investment will go towards new arrangements to support vulnerable groups and the long term unemployed, including those with disabilities and health conditions.
Following an estimated 87 per cent budget cut by the UK government in the first year of devolved employability services in Scotland, Scottish Ministers have stepped in to provide up to £20 million in additional funding, to replace the UK Government’s Work Choice and Work Programme schemes.
The UK Government’s Work Choice and Work Programme schemes will be permanently replaced from March 2018. For one interim year existing Work Choice providers will continue to deliver employability services while Skills Development Scotland will deliver a new devolved service for clients with a health condition and at risk of long term unemployment who want to enter work.
Commenting, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:
“New powers on employability are among the most exciting of the new areas to be devolved as it gives Scotland the chance to create something that works for unemployed Scots. Figures released just last week show that the UK government’s Work Programme is still failing to deliver for the most disadvantaged jobseekers.
“The UK Government has shown its contempt for the disabled and long-term unemployed by cutting the budget for employability services by a staggering 87% in the year it is being devolved – giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
“The SNP will invest £20m to treble the budget for employability services as the first step in our new approach. We’ll follow this by ensuring we shape future services to support people into suitable and sustainable employment. Our national service will be delivered locally and be based on the principles of fairness, dignity and respect.
“This can only be a positive for people in Inverclyde who have suffered as a result of the UK Government’s failed Work Programme.
“This is yet another example of how an SNP government if re-elected for a historic third term would use newly devolved powers to make Scotland a fairer place to live.”
Scotland has enjoyed an increase in employment over the past few years, but it is not a uniform shift: some areas of Scotland do better than others. Inverclyde has been doing better in terms of employment: as recently as 2014, unemployment fell from 12.1% to 8%, one of the largest falls in Scotland for that year. Overall, Inverclyde’s benefit claim rate has been under 3% since October 2015: from April 2014-October 15, it was 3-4%; from January-August 2013, it was over 5%. Unfortunately, although Inverclyde has around 38,000 in employment, even a comparatively small number of job losses can be devastating for the community: in December 2015, for example, 267 people became unemployed within a month.
Welfare and employment laws are tied inexorably to reserved powers at Westminster. While the Scottish Government can do much to mitigate many of the horrendous and widely condemned changes to welfare and jobs undertaken by the UK government, it will only ever be that – mitigation. The power to change welfare and employment law without having to draw upon funds and resources from elsewhere in the already tight and cut Scottish budget can only be harnessed when those things are in the Scottish Parliament’s remit.
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