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Scottish government funding for youth unemployment priority areas

image captionCouncils are being given the funding to help create work opportunities for young people

Six local authorities facing "particular challenges" with youth unemployment are to share £9m to create work opportunities.

The Scottish government has announced the priority areas set to benefit from its youth employment strategy fund.

Glasgow, Renfrewshire, North and South Lanarkshire and North and East Ayrshire will be given the extra funding to help boost job chances in their areas.

The individual councils will have flexibility on how the cash is spent.

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said: "The councils in question have a number of options open to them on how best to direct this funding, but we all have the same objective - improving employment opportunities, and therefore life chances, of Scotland's young people.

"We are also looking towards the Westminster government to deliver a budget for jobs, including a National Insurance holiday for employers who recruit young people.

"This is a relatively simple measure that could significantly enhance employment opportunities for young people."

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay added: "On top of ensuring 25,000 modern apprenticeship opportunities in every year of this parliament, we have already rolled out several tranches of the youth employment strategy fund since December towards schemes linked to the voluntary sector and young carers.

"Local authorities have a key role in meeting a national challenge and I am confident this funding will make a real difference to the future prospects of young people in these areas."

Glasgow will receive the largest cut of the funds, with almost £3.4m going to Scotland's biggest local authority.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Any additional money for Glasgow is very welcome and goodness knows we need it, but this must be part of a proper strategy across Scotland to tackle youth unemployment, rather than handed out as part of a media campaign.

"It's not just about the money - it is about how effectively it is spent."

North Lanarkshire will get £1,825,000 while South Lanarkshire will receive £1,457,000.

North Ayrshire will get £828,000, East Ayrshire is to receive £720,000 and Renfrewshire will get £799,000.

Scottish Labour's youth unemployment spokeswoman Kezia Dugdale said: "It will be interesting to see if this money is being used as a headline grabbing give-away just days before the council elections start, or whether it is a strategic and sustainable investment in the lives of young people who desperately need their government to act."

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