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

I also welcome the support for the young persons guarantee scheme from the Scottish Labour Party. The scale of the challenge is, quite rightly, a focus of attention. Currently, the figures for June to August show 44,000 young people unemployed. That is too many, and that is why we need to move swiftly and at scale. The current unemployment rates in Scotland are 12.5 per cent of young people, and the UK-wide figure is 15.4 per cent, which is significantly higher, but we know and understand especially the precarious and serious experience of many young people and the issues that they will face in terms of redundancy.

We also want to make sure that there are new opportunities for young people leaving school, because the opportunities that might have been there previously will not necessarily still be there. I will come back on the question of the funding of university places. I will speak to our education colleagues to confirm the information that Iain Gray requested.

I do not underestimate the scale of this at all. That is why we moved very swiftly. Remember that the recommendation came out of the advisory group on economic recovery, which reported some months ago. It was one of the highlights of its proposals and we have moved swiftly on it. We have set out a plan and worked and co-operated with others; one arm of that, as I said, was working with local government. Quite often it will benefit specifically young people who are needing extra support. I talked about additional support around key workers. That will not be the only avenue for support, but it can make a difference. Mobilising the sum of the parts will mean that we can grow the impact of the resources that we have.