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Scotland’s first minister is to set out proposals for ‘new green jobs’ with fair pay and conditions as the country emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
In her annual programme for the government, which is due to be revealed today, Nicola Sturgeon plans to prioritise jobs and training for young people and to “rebuild an economy that is stronger, fairer and more sustainable” than it was before the pandemic.
It is also set to include a programme to retrain people to work in new sectors, particularly low carbon industries.
She said: “Equipping people with skills for the future to keep them in work or get back into employment will be critical.
“From our young people entering the job market for the first time to older workers who need to retrain, we will make sure that no one is left behind.”
Yesterday, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross announced his alternative economic plans for the country, including proposals for sector-specific job security councils to help those who become unemployed find skilled work.
The country has seen around 736,500 people placed on furlough and 155,000 claims made through self-employment support schemes. Almost a third of workers in the Glasgow city region have been furloughed.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme continues to wind down today and closes fully at the end of October, but the Scottish government has called on Westminster to extend it – particularly for sectors that have been the hardest hit by Covid-19 restrictions.
Scotland’s economy, fair work and culture secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “It is only fair that these businesses are supported when they’ve had to close through no fault of their own, and have undoubtedly helped save lives as a result.”
The UK Labour and Scottish Labour parties have told the country’s SNP government to take action on Scotland’s looming jobs crisis.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: “Scotland has the highest unemployment rate in the UK and has suffered the highest year-on-year fall in job vacancies. Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP government need to get off the sidelines and do much more to ensure workers who lose their jobs don’t end up in long-term unemployment.
“The chancellor’s one-size-fits-all withdrawal of the jobs retention scheme is causing economic havoc across the UK, but just because the Tories have presided over a jobs crisis in Westminster doesn’t mean the SNP can be proud of their record in Holyrood.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the country needs a “jobs guarantee scheme” before furlough ends to avoid “unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1980s”.
“We welcome and support the creation of new jobs in green industries – but workers don’t need promises of ‘jam tomorrow’, they need an assurance they will not be thrown on the dole queues next month,” said Leonard.
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