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Volume 598: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2015

8. How many young people aged between 16 and 24 in Scotland are not in employment, education or training; and if he will make a statement. (900939)

Latest figures show that the number of NEETs aged 16 to 19 in Scotland in 2014 is down by over 8,000 to its lowest level since comparable records began in 2004.

Figures from the Scottish Government show that 59,000 young people are unemployed in Scotland, the largest number for any age group, and many are not able to access either a job or training. What is being done to address that?

The hon. Lady raises a valid point, and the Department for Work and Pensions has helped young people in Scotland through a range of initiatives such as the new enterprise allowance and sector-based work academies as well as the Work programme. I am pleased to take further the Chancellor’s announcement in last week’s Budget that the Government are determined to support young people in Scotland and across the UK by introducing a youth obligation.

The Minister will be aware of Scottish Government plans to increase the number of modern apprenticeship places in Scotland to 30,000. How will the new apprenticeship levy announced in the Budget operate? Will it deliver additional resources to the Scottish Government to invest in apprenticeships, and does the Minister have an estimate of how much new money will be available?

The details of the policy will come forward in due course, but it is commendable that across the UK this Government are supporting the creation of 3 million new additional apprenticeships, which just goes to show that we are investing in our young people and supporting them as they get closer to the employment market.