ALEX Salmond yesterday announced a £60 million package supporting more than 3,000 Scottish jobs when he spoke at the SNP conference.
The cash would be allocated to 43 economic development projects across the country.
The First Minister said £20m of European regional development funding would support total investment of £60m in projects to be run by businesses, local government and the third sector.
According to the First Minister, the funding will help start more than 700 businesses, support a further 5,000 businesses to grow and create jobs. Salmond said the emphasis would be on creating work for young people.
He argued that his government’s use of European funding was a crucial difference between his approach and Westminster. “We have a youth guarantee in Scotland that any youngster between 16 and 19 without a job, education or training gets the offer of help within four months. It is quick intervention and it is effective,” Salmond said.
“There is a European proposal to extend this. Westminster opposes it, not because it is not a good idea but basically because it is European.
“We need the freedom to respond to European initiatives in the best way for Scotland, not to have a proposal on training for youngsters distorted through a Eurosceptic lens.”
He added: “The fact that it comes from a European initiative is something which will not concern the young people who are benefiting.”