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Volume 605: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2016

The employment rate in Scotland has never been higher, and it now stands at 74.9%. Our employment support offer will build on that, recognising the changing labour market environment, while delivering value for money to the taxpayer.

Erewash has many great examples of businesses whose commercial operations north of the border help to sustain jobs locally, including Rayden Engineering and West Transport. Does the Minister agree that Scotland not only supports jobs for its own population, but creates a great deal of employment across the rest of the United Kingdom?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that record levels of employment in Scotland have clearly benefited her constituency, as there is a crossover in employment opportunities between her constituency and Scotland. With our growing economy, and the strength of our economy, those levels will continue to grow and grow.

Under the SNP Scottish Government, Scotland’s youth employment is at its highest level since 2005, and is 7% higher than that in the rest of the UK. Can the Secretary of State reassure me that he will make representations to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to ensure that Scotland receives a fair share of funding from the apprenticeship levy?

I did not fully hear the hon. Gentleman’s question, but I will certainly take it away. I understand that the Department is already looking at that matter.

It is a very serious situation if Ministers cannot hear the questions. It is also a considerable discourtesy to the people of Scotland if, when we are discussing these important matters, questions and answers cannot be heard. Let us please try to have a bit of order.