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by Niall Christie
SCOTTISH Labour published its economic recovery plan today, including the “biggest job creation scheme in the history of devolution.”
Leader Anas Sarwar said that Scotland needs “ambitious action to confront the national jobs emergency” triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
The party’s plan includes a £500 million scheme to give six months’ employment and training to young and out-of-work Scots.
It also includes proposals for a new Scottish skills benefit, which would help those who are jobless, furloughed or in at-risk industries to retrain and find high-skilled employment.
Targeted funds would be aimed at recruiting and training nurses, carers, teachers, health workers and engineers, while the party also plans to end to zero-hour contracts within public-sector procurement.
Mr Sarwar said: “Scotland is facing a national jobs emergency, and without urgent ambitious action we could see hundreds of thousands of people facing a future out of work.
“We have just months to act, but with ambitious action we can confront this emergency and tackle the emerging jobs crisis.”
He said of his party’s plan: “It is the biggest job creation scheme in the history of devolution — but it is the scale of ambition that is necessary to battle the crisis.”
Labour would also focus on making the most of fossil fuel decommissioning work in the north-east, backing trade unions’ calls for safeguards to ensure that renewable energy jobs stay in Scotland.
Mr Sarwar said that the move towards renewable energy must be to the benefit of “local money, local investment and local jobs.”
“If we are going to do this in a just and fair way, that ‘just transition’ can only be if we take communities with us, and those at risk of losing their jobs are offered new jobs through those interventions,” he said.
Writing in the Daily Record, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown backed Labour’s plan and said that the SNP should likewise be focused on the economy rather than independence.
The ex-Labour leader said that the ruling party “too often prefers to think short term or talk about the powers it doesn’t have.”
“Nicola Sturgeon must do what I think even she knows is right — to put her constitutional argument to one side and focus on the job in front of her,” he said.
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