‘Young Scots facing jobs crisis’

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A QUARTER of young men in Scotland are out of work, prompting fears of a growing “youth unemployment crisis”.

More than 80,000 men and women aged between 18 and 24 are looking for a job, according to figures yesterday from the Office for National Statistics.

This is up from 33,000 in early 2008 and means that 20.7 per cent of this age group – or one in five – are now jobless.

For young men the situation is worse, with 25.8 per cent of males aged 18 to 24 not working, according to the statistics.

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said: “Behind these figures are thousands of tales of tragedy, as bright kids leave school with no jobs, no training, no chances.

“Scotland is now in the grip of a systemic youth employment crisis and the Scottish Government has a profound responsibility to act. If they haven’t already got the message, these figures should act as a wake-up call.”

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray added: “These figures paint a depressing picture of a generation of young Scots rich in talent, full of potential and with a hunger to work but let down by an SNP government whose economic plan isn’t working.”

Other figures released by Labour showed that last month, 4.1 per cent of Scots were out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance, a higher rate than the 3.8 per cent recorded south of the Border.

Finance secretary John Swinney said: “There is no question that we face serious challenges, with the UK government imposing cuts that are too far and too fast and damaging recovery, but the Scottish labour market continues to outperform the UK as a whole – with lower unemployment, higher employment, and lower economic inactivity rates.

“Statistics released last week showed Scottish unemployment down by 25,000 from its peak during the recession, but joblessness across the UK now at its highest level since 1994.”

Mr Swinney added that the Scottish Government’s all-time record 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship places this year, and the “Opportunities for All” programme, guaranteeing a training or learning place for all 16-19 year-olds, would help address the issue.