Let me turn to another aspect of jobs, referring to yesterday’s statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who announced the UK Government’s new kick-start jobs scheme. Does the First Minister share my concerns that it will deliver low-paid, part-time employment for just six months, using a scheme that cuts off everyone over the age of 24, when what we need is jobs for good and a quality jobs guarantee?
Last week, the First Minister announced that Sandy Begbie would draw up an implementation plan for the jobs guarantee scheme recommended by the Scottish Government’s advisory group on economic recovery. Can the First Minister assure us right now that the jobs and training that are delivered by that scheme will last longer than six months, that those on it will be paid the living wage or the union-negotiated rate for the job, and that they will be offered full-time employment or training? With unemployment in Scotland now above the UK average, will the First Minister roll out such a quality jobs guarantee scheme as a matter of great urgency?