GOVERNMENT performance should be judged by how it supports the most disadvantaged, the Scottish Labour leader has said as she outlined plans to support young people in care into higher education.
Only 3% of young people go on to higher education within nine months of leaving care, compared to 36% for young people in general, according to the party.
Kezia Dugdale said school pupils who come from care and continue into higher education should receive student grant support of £6,000 a year.
Scottish Labour plan to use debates in the Scottish Parliament this week to press for further action to support young people who come from care.
On a visit to Dumbarton Academy Ms Dugdale said: “A government must be judged by how it supports the most disadvantaged people in our society, and they don’t come much more disadvantaged than young people in care.
“We need to close the gap between the richest and the rest, so that care leavers can have as many opportunities to get on in life as any other young person.
“Too often we simply forget about them. Not necessarily out of malice or intent, but because they don’t have enough people to speak up on their behalf.
“Whether because of neglect or circumstance, these are young people who grow up without the support network other talented young people take for granted, through no fault of their own.
“The reality is that young care leavers are more likely to go to jail than university. We need to reverse that trend, and the way to do that is to make it easier for care leavers to go on to higher education.
“Scottish Labour have a plan introduce full grant support, worth £6000 a year, for looked after young people who have the talent to go on to higher education. The SNP Government should use their existing attainment fund to introduce this plan.”