I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of her statement. I welcome the launch of the youth guarantee scheme and I am pleased to hear that a number of organisations are looking to become early adopters. Scottish Conservatives will lend whatever support we can to ensure that the scheme helps as many young people as possible. One way of doing that, as Sandy Begbie recommends, and as the cabinet secretary recognises, is to ensure that it complements the United Kingdom Government’s kickstart scheme. Just last week, it was announced that a 200-strong digital army of young people will be established at HALO Kilmarnock following £1.5 million of funding under the kickstart scheme, and it will be useful to see how the Scottish Government can complement that.
Another, far more direct way to boost the scheme is to ensure that we increase funding. The Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills has said that the youth guarantee scheme budget of £60 million is not enough to reach everyone. The chancellor has today provided an opportunity to do just that, with the announcement of an extra £1 billion of funding for Scotland to tackle the crisis, thanks to Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives. Will the cabinet secretary commit to using some of that funding to ensure that the youth guarantee scheme can help as many young Scots as possible to start their careers?