Covid-19 (Recovery) (Support for Young People in Glasgow)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 27 April 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

7. To ask the Scottish Government how its policies across government will support young people living in Glasgow to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. (S6O-00996)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

We know that young people across Scotland have had an extremely challenging time during the pandemic. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting all our young people as they recover. Improvement of the wellbeing of children and young people is one of the central outcomes in our Covid recovery strategy. Together with our partners in local government, business and the third sector, we are delivering policies that will help young people, including those who live in the city of Glasgow.

For example, as part of the young persons guarantee, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow is helping to support young people who have additional barriers to positive destinations. Glasgow’s local employability partnership is also prioritising the support of those who are furthest from the labour market to achieve a positive destination.

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

As the Deputy First Minister highlighted, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have been at the sharp end of the pandemic, but they are the most likely to have experienced extended worklessness during it, especially if they shielded and gave up their jobs. Youth unemployment in Glasgow sits at 9 per cent, which is almost three times the national average, and young people who return to work are more likely than the average person to be in insecure work and not to be in a union.

Does the cabinet secretary agree that more needs to be done to protect young people who are in work, as there are some scandalous stories of their poor treatment, not just in Glasgow but across the country? How is the Scottish Government ensuring that young people in Glasgow and across the country can access decent and secure jobs that provide them with the ability to develop good-quality careers?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Fundamentally, I agree with the proposition that has been put forward by Pauline McNeill, and I contend that the Government’s agenda is designed to support that.

The young persons guarantee gives the assurance of a good pathway for every young person, no matter how far they are from the labour market. Indeed, the Covid recovery work that the Government is doing places special emphasis on ensuring that we are able to reach those who have the greatest challenges in getting into the labour market. The young persons guarantee provides that flexibility. For some young people, accessing further education or individually focused support might be required to enable them to overcome obstacles to entering the labour market.

As I have discussed with the Glasgow economic leadership group, which I met last Wednesday, we are very focused on ensuring that the tremendous resource base of talented young people in Glasgow is properly nurtured, supported and assisted so that they can contribute significantly to the city’s economic recovery. The Government is committed to working with our partners in Glasgow to enable that to be the case.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

The Scottish child payment will clearly have a positive impact in supporting low-income families to recover from the pandemic. Will the Deputy First Minister detail how many children in Glasgow are expected to benefit? Will the Scottish Government monitor the impact by surveying directly those who are in receipt of the Scottish child payment to find out what they think?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

We expect around 50,000 children in Glasgow to benefit from the Scottish child payment in each of the next five years. We are currently undertaking an interim evaluation of the Scottish child payment. Mr Doris will, of course, be aware that, in recent weeks, the Government has announced enhanced rates for the payment, as part of the tackling child poverty delivery plan. Once the payment is fully rolled out to those who are responsible for children under 16, we will carry out a full evaluation of the policy development. Both those evaluations will involve engagement with those who are in receipt of the Scottish child payment to ensure that we capture the experience and the benefit for those individuals.

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

Young people in Glasgow and across Scotland will be sitting exams in the coming weeks, and, unfortunately, a number of them may miss the exams due to Covid. That is likely to lead to a large increase in the number of appeals going to the Scottish Qualifications Authority in the summer. Is the cabinet secretary confident that the SQA is properly resourced to be able to deal with the likely increase in the number of appeals?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I am confident that if the situation results in an increased number of appeals, the Scottish Qualifications Authority will have the resource planning in place to enable that to be properly addressed.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Question 8 is from Paul O’Kane, who joins us remotely.