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Youth Unemployment

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

9. What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of policies to reduce the level of youth unemployment in Scotland. (309557)

We are determined to help those of all ages who are out of work to get back into work. Since 1997, we have seen the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in Scotland claiming unemployment benefits for six months or more halved.

I thank my right hon. Friend and congratulate him on his answer. Is he as concerned as I am at the possibility that, because of the Scottish Executive’s proposal to change the rules for the payment of education maintenance allowance, 7,000 young people will end up on the dole, as they will not receive their £10 or £20, given the new threshold of £30? Is that not a disgrace? What can my right hon. Friend do to help these young people?

Many parents and grandparents across Scotland are worried about what their children and grandchildren will be doing when they leave school or university this year. We all have a responsibility to see what more we can do. My worry is that the Scottish National party Edinburgh Government seem to spend so much time trying to get Scotland out of Britain that they spend so little time trying to get Scotland out of the recession.