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Leonard demands ‘immediate government intervention’ to keep young people in work

Alliance For Full Employment outlines steps to tackle youth unemployment in Scotland

SCOTTISH LABOUR leader Richard Leonard has demanded “immediate government intervention” to keep young people in work following warnings that youth unemployment north of the border will hit 100,000 this month. 

The Alliance For Full Employment (AFFE), launched by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, outlines steps needed to tackle unemployment among young people, with fears that measures already in place will prove insufficient. 

About 60 per cent of redundancies since March have hit the under-25s and the unemployment rate for young men is already more than three times the adult rate, the report stated.

Professor Paul Gregg, who wrote for the AFFE, said that Westminster’s Kickstart youth unemployment programme will not provide anywhere near enough places for those in need of support.

With fears of further sharp rises in those out of work in Scotland Mr Leonard said that government ministers should be pursuing a goal of full employment. 

“These shocking figures show that Scotland is facing its most severe youth unemployment crisis since the height of Thatcherism in the 1980s,” he said.

“The goal of full employment must be placed at the heart of policy-making and the UK and Scottish governments must use every tool at their disposal to pursue that goal. 

“Scottish Labour has been advocating a jobs guarantee scheme since the economic impact of Covid-19 became clear.

“It’s clear from Gordon Brown’s report that the real priority is about whether young people are going to have jobs or not. 

“As Scottish Labour leader I stand with Gordon Brown in demanding immediate government intervention to keep young people in Scotland in work.”

Calls were also made by those behind the report for a “jobs summit” to be held, with the alliance suggesting that 1.5 million young people will need help over the coming year to deal with the increase in unemployment.

Mr Brown warned the issue of youth unemployment is now a “far bigger challenge” faced than in the 1980s. 

“If we do not listen to what is happening on the ground and mobilise all the resources of the whole of the UK and work together to co-ordinate our response, we will fail a generation of young people as surely as we did for too long in the 1980s,” Mr Brown said.

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