Scotland politics

Political leaders focus on youth unemployment at Dundee summit

man looks at job adverts
Image caption Latest figures showed about 103,000 people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work in Scotland

Leading UK politicians have been in Scotland to discuss youth unemployment north and south of the border.

The National Convention on Youth Employment in Dundee was chaired by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney also attended.

The summit came a day after the latest official figures showed about 103,000 people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work in Scotland.

Organisations such as John Lewis, Jobcentre Plus and Skills Development Scotland were invited to take part.

Mr Moore told the convention: "I think it is of particular importance that the UK government and the Scottish government - the two governments of Scotland - work together on this critical issue.

"The purpose of today is to bring the key players in the youth employment debate on a focused basis.

"Youth unemployment is a problem which can appear to have more questions than answers but we can achieve far more together than apart."

Mr Swinney challenged the UK government to deliver a "budget for job creation".

He said: "The Chancellor could play his part in tackling youth unemployment with National Insurance holidays tied to the recruitment of young people.

"This relatively simple measure could significantly enhance employment opportunities for young people and could also be extended to cover recruitment by small and medium sized businesses."

Fair wage

Labour MP and Shadow Scotland Secretary Margaret Curran said Scotland's youth unemployment "crisis" would not be solved by asking young people working for free.

She added: "We need governments in Edinburgh and London working together to grow the economy and create real jobs that pay a fair wage for a fair day's work."

Ms Curran believed Dundee's youth employment convention had been disappointing and she was critical that few young people had been invited to the event.

The politician said: "Given the scale of the challenge we face, with more than 100,000 young people out of work, it's disappointing that just 10 young people were invited to the national convention, which now looks like grandstanding.

"How can we help young people into work if we don't even listen and understand the challenges they face?"

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