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Employability consultation shows UK cuts travesty

29 January 2016 

Employability consultation shows UK cuts travesty

Responses to the recent consultation on employability services were overwhelmingly in favour of significant improvements when new powers are devolved in 2017.

The publication of responses to Creating a Fairer Scotland: Employability Support follows the announcement by the UK Chancellor of an estimated 87 per cent budget cut to UK government-funded employability services in Scotland. The move will seriously undermine Scottish Government plans to overhaul how such services will be delivered from April next year.

Analysis found that respondents were in favour of the following:

A flexible, tailored, 'whole person' approach

  • That services be designed and delivered in partnership
  • Include a drive towards real jobs

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said:

"I am very pleased to see that the majority of respondents to our consultation are in favour of making significant changes that would provide a more tailored partnership approach that is delivered locally, with greater emphasis on a push towards real jobs. This is very much in tune with our vision of how to improve services.

"But I am disappointed and frustrated that all our ambitions have been fundamentally undermined by the Chancellor's decision to pull the rug out from under the entire process by slashing the employability funding by around £45 million. This 87 per cent cut next year will leave us with a pittance to deliver  the changes we want.

"We want a service that treats people with more respect, and gives people with real difficulties in finding work the chance of finding a job. These are still the principles I am determined we will work to deliver in Scotland. But this cut has been a huge blow to the initial stages of our work.

"The Scottish Government invested a significant amount of time and effort in the second half of last year in sounding out service users and providers, plus employers and other stakeholders on how they would like a Scottish approach to employability to look in 2017 when these powers are devolved.

"However, if we are to deliver an employability service fit for a fair and modern Scotland we need the right support in place and that is dependent on the UK government allocating a level of funding that is fair and just. Scotland's job seekers deserve nothing less."

Background

Consultation analysis report can be found at the following link (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

  https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/labour-market-and-workplace-policy/employability-support

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