What are Scotland’s political parties promising about employment?
May 11, 2017
With personal debt levels rising in Scotland, employment is once again a crucial component of party manifestoes ahead of the upcoming general election. But what are Scotland’s main political parties saying about this issue?
Scottish National Party (SNP)
Employment in Scotland
Sanctions that were placed on people involved in voluntary work programmes in Scotland – Work Programme and Work Choices – have been removed. Previously, benefits were cut for those taking part in this employment initiative, aimed in Scotland at the long-term unemployed and disabled people.
Additionally, the SNP has promised:
- A further funding boost of £20 million for employment programmes, Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland in 2017-18. SNP states that this funding will help 4,800 disabled people and individuals in poor health to gain employment.¹
- Continued financial support for the Employability Fund initiative which is part of Skills Development Scotland, and Community Jobs Scotland, focusing on the creation of work opportunities for vulnerable groups of unemployed young people.
- Support for the new National Living Wage (NLW) and increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) – they would like the National Minimum Wage for young people and apprentices to be nearer adult NMW rates.
- The annual numbers of Modern Apprenticeships are to be increased from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020.²
- Continued free university education in Scotland, encouraging the development of a highly-skilled future workforce.
- A Jobs Grant is to be introduced for people aged 16-24: this helps those who have been unemployed for six months or more back into employment. It provides free bus travel for three months so they can attend job interviews more easily, and makes available £250 for young parents and £100 for those without children.
The SNP works closely with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to train and advise older workers, helping them to boost an existing career or offer the best chances of returning to employment.
The Scottish Conservative Party want to simplify the business rate system so that local councils retain 100% of the business tax paid. This could help to encourage growth for local businesses, and consequently improve employment levels.
Local Growth Partnerships and Growth Accelerators would also be used to improve local economies, and increase private sector jobs.
According to BBC Scotland, the Scottish Labour Party views itself as “defenders of local services and jobs.” They plan to protect existing jobs, and attract new investment to boost economic growth and employment via City Deals. They would also like to ensure council employees are paid an hourly rate of more than £8.45, so approving councils as Living Wage employers.
The Liberal Democrats in Scotland aim to “reinvigorate town centres and local communities” by encouraging councils to work with local businesses. One idea is to put empty high street shops to good use – for example in creating employment projects and basing them within vacant commercial buildings.
Scottish Green Party
As far as employment is concerned, the Scottish Green Party wants to clampdown on the use of zero hours contracts, and campaign for a Living Wage of £9.20 per hour for carers. They would also like to see greater flexibility with free childcare hours to support shift workers with families, and people whose working hours are irregular.
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