Welcoming the SNP conference’s support for a motion highlighting that SNP Government’s success in delivering record numbers of young people in training and education and funding a record number of new-start apprenticeships, SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee – said the SNP’s ambitious plans for even more job placements had left the Labour party looking feeble and floundering.
The SNP has pledged to expand on its steps for young people with a guarantee of 25,000 apprenticeship places a year for the next four years and an expanded programme to help young people into work with 25,000 training places under the party’s £40 million Youth Employment Scotland (YES) proposals. In contrast the Labour party has only put a figure of 10,000 for a newly set up Future Jobs Fund – even after they voted against a fund for the voluntary sector to provide employment opportunities and a record 25,000 apprentices, £10 million of support for small business to take on employees, plus further support for bursaries.
Not only is this 40,000 less than the SNP but half the 20,000 places they promised last May in their Westminster election manifesto and a tenth of the places promised by Iain Gray in November (Newsnight Scotland). Challenging Labour to meet the SNP’s pledge on youth employments Mr FitzPatrick said: “The SNP Government has been focused on delivering jobs and employment for Scotland’s young people who have been hit hard by the recession Labour caused and the cuts the Tory/LibDem government have increased.
“A re-elected SNP government will extend our policy of 25,000 apprenticeships a year from next year to the next four years and also expand training places that get young people into work with a £20 million investment to provide 25,000 training for work places in each of the next four years.
“The SNP in Government has already taken action by increasing apprenticeships to a record 20,000 and increasing bursaries by 25% before this year’s budget to help our young people. At the coming election we will do more. “In contrast Labour’s position is mired in confusion and contradiction.
“How many places are they offering and how many young people do they actually intend to help?
“How will it be funded? Labour have said the UK Government will pay, then asked the Scottish Government for the funds. Is this simply another of Labour’s uncosted empty promise to Scotland’s young people?
“After voting against a budget for jobs and training that gave them everything they wanted – and more – Labour’s job pledges are looking confused and unambitious.”