Young Persons Guarantee

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th November 2020.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

First, I warmly welcome the support of the Scottish Conservatives for the young persons guarantee. It is essential that we work together in partnership on this to make sure that we can deliver for young people. That is what they will expect, and that is what employers will expect.

Maurice Golden’s point was about wrapping around the kickstart programme, and we are very keen to do so. Sandy Begbie and I will seek to make further contact with the UK Government to ensure that it understands our proposal. The kickstart programme is quite time limited and we want to make sure that we have a longer period of support for young people so that they can develop and, importantly, have a route to permanent employment. We think that the longer period of support that we are providing will help to deliver that.

On the point about additional resources, we made a bold decision very early on because we were concerned about the level of youth unemployment that we were going to be facing. We made a decision when we did not have the further support from the UK Government because we knew that it was the right thing to do and we knew that we would need to marshal whatever resources we had in order to deliver. I am pleased that we have managed to make an early commitment.

Clearly, the additional funding that is Scotland’s share of contributions that are needed to manage the economy going forward is welcome, but it is not just about the economy; it is about transport, public health and a whole variety of other issues. I will certainly want to make sure that we have the strongest financial platform possible for the youth guarantee, but we should remember that everybody needs to put their shoulder to the wheel. It will be about mobilising financial support from employers, as well as the existing range of employability skills and education resources. Yes, I will take every penny that I can get, but I will have those discussions with the finance secretary at the appropriate time.