Jim Murphy to pledge £1bn working class investment

SCOTTISH Labour leader Jim Murphy will pledge to invest £1 billion in Scotland’s “young working-class” during a speech in the City of London today.

Jim Murphy pictured with Labour leader Ed Miliband. Picture: Getty

The package of promises will be funded by UK Labour’s plans to reintroduce a tax on bankers’ bonuses and cut pension tax relief for those on high incomes.

It includes the Scottish Jobs Guarantee, which will be administered in Scotland through a unique Scottish contract, which Mr Murphy says will end long-term youth unemployment.

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About 5,000 young Scots aged 18-24 will be eligible for the jobs guarantee in the first year of the scheme.

The £1 billion package includes a £1,000 increase in bursaries for Scottish students, a “future fund” worth £1,600 for every 18 and 19-year-old in work and free university tuition.

The future fund, unveiled at Scottish Labour’s spring conference, will provide teenagers who do not go to university with £1,600 to spend on what they “need to get on in life”.

Mr Murphy will say: “This is an unprecedented investment in our young people, only made possible by harnessing the wealth of the whole of the UK, including the wealthiest in the City of London.

“It is a guarantee of opportunity that the SNP can’t deliver because they don’t believe in redistributing from South to North.

“It is a guarantee that the Tories won’t deliver because they do not believe in redistributing from rich to poor.”

He will add: “This generation of young people has come of age when, for the first time, most parents believe that their children will do worse than they did.

“While the living standards of those retiring now are greater than previous pensioners, young people’s living standards have stagnated compared to their older siblings and parents.

“The economic and social costs of a generation for whom the hope of youth has been replaced with pessimism over the chances of a better future may dog us for years to come.

“But it is not too late to turn things around and to make the promise of a better future real.

“It is not too late because this generation of young people have been educated for longer and to a higher standard than any previous generation.”

On the jobs guarantee, he will add: “We will use a new tax on the bonuses of bankers here in the City of London and in the UK’s other financial centres.

“We will use that funding to guarantee a real job, at at-least minimum wage, and to guarantee training for every young person too.

“We offer the guarantee to all young people who are at risk of falling into long-term unemployment.

“This will be a Scottish Jobs Guarantee, delivered by a distinct contract in Scotland, in partnership with employers, colleges and the Scottish Government.”

SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Dr Eilidh Whiteford said: “Given that Jim Murphy has voted in favour of tuition fees at every turn, Scotland’s young people won’t fall for his empty attempts to buy their vote.

“And despite Westminster’s disastrous economic record, youth unemployment is at its lowest level for five years in Scotland as a result of Scottish Government action. The Scottish Government’s Opportunities For All scheme offers every 16 to 19-year-old a place in work, education or training - and as a result, 90% of school leavers are going into positive destinations.

“Mr Murphy’s warm words won’t hide the fact that his party voted arm-in-arm with the Tories for £30 billion more cuts - at the same time as committing to wasting £100 billion on Trident nuclear weapons.

“If Mr Murphy really wanted to invest in Scotland’s young people, he would dump this ludicrous policy in favour of nuclear weapons and back the SNP in spending the money on education, childcare and health.”