Labour to call for job creation priority in budget

Kezia Dugdale will use a keynote speech ahead of this week’s budget to call for measures to promote job creation for young people and the development of new technology.

Ms Dugdale is to urge the government to ensure Scotland is leading the way in scinece and technology rather than 'catching up'. Picture: Malcolm McCurrachl

The Scottish Labour leader will call for a shift in the government’s approach to creating opportunities for youth as she addresses the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in Aberdeen today.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will unveil the Scottish Government’s budget at Holyrood on Wednesday, when he will set out the new Scottish rate of income tax.

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However, Ms Dugdale will say that Scotland needs to be “leading technological change, not playing catch” as she calls for a long-term plan to create jobs for young people.

She is also expected to set out what she says is a new pro-business approach from her party, as she calls on Mr Swinney to deliver a budget to help firms boost employment.

She will urge Mr Swinney, who is also Scotland’s finance secretary, to include measures in his budget to encourage businesses to promote new technology.

Ms Dugdale will say: “I know that Labour leaders haven’t always appeared to understand the importance of business to the future of society. I do. Let me tell you why.

“Eighty per cent of all people who work, work in the private sector, and I want people to have the opportunity to work. If business succeeds then it can pay fair wages, offer decent career prospects, and that’s what I want for people in Scotland.

“When I think of the future I imagine a Scotland embracing new technology, building on its strengths in science and engineering, providing good work.

“I imagine a world in which talent, ambition and effort are rewarded, where education in science and technology are nurtured. I want Scotland to embrace that change, and I want Scotland to be leading not chasing to catch up.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called on Mr Swinney to spend all the additional Barnett consequentials received as a result of increased mental health spending in England on improving services in that area in Scotland.

He said: “We need to see all the extra money that the Scottish Government will receive as a result of increased spending on mental health in England used to boost services here too.

“But this should be a floor rather than a ceiling when it comes to additional investment.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are currently examining the detail of the UK Spending Review and its implications for the Scottish budget.

“Scottish ministers will publish their forward budget plans on December 16, 2015.”