Employment (Falkirk West)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 17 March 2011.

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Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

I am aware of the success of places such as Falkirk in building broad-based employability partnerships with a combined focus on the needs of adults and young people. It is clear that the approach is working because, despite the difficult economic conditions, the number of people employed in Falkirk rose by 400 over the year to June 2010. In fact, at 72.5 per cent, the employment rate for Falkirk is now higher than the Scottish average, which itself is higher than the United Kingdom rate.

The Government really wants to build on that kind of progress. As we announced in December, Falkirk Council will receive more than £425,000 of European social fund money for an employability and regeneration project that will run over two years. In this year’s budget, we further committed to provide no fewer than 46,500 training places across the whole of Scotland. We also announced a £10 million package of support for small businesses that recruit the long-term unemployed and a further £10 million for a community jobs fund to offer young people work opportunities in the third sector.