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Job Opportunities

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

9. What recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the number of job opportunities in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (317410)

Despite the global recession, there are 234,000 more people in work today in Scotland than when this Government came to power.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. He will also want to congratulate both Ryanair on the expansion of its maintenance facility at Prestwick, and the Minister for having the summit tomorrow. However, will he take a look at an issue that is of concern to at least one of my constituents: the whole question of education maintenance allowance, where there is a disparity between Scotland and England? Will he look into that? [Interruption.]

Order. The House must at least make an attempt to contain itself, and I know—[Interruption.] Order. The House will listen to the Secretary of State.

My hon. Friend’s question must be a very popular one, Mr. Speaker! Amidst all the hullabaloo and excitement on the Opposition Benches, he asked about the important issue of supporting young people in Scotland through the recession. It is very important that politicians in Scotland do not take their eye off the ball in terms of the recession, but that has sometimes happened in the Scottish Parliament. Some people seem fixated with the constitution, at the expense of dealing with the recession. When we talk about over 230,000 more people being in work in Scotland, that is not just a large figure, but it tells of an enormous number of families whose lives have been transformed. It is the equivalent of the entire population of the city of Aberdeen being in work today who were out of work during the previous Government’s time.