Government open up jobs

MORE Scottish Government jobs are to be opened up to unemployed people.

It will mean more mentoring, placements and training for youngsters and adults facing the biggest difficulties in finding work, such as lone parents and disabled people.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the move at a "welfare to work" summit in Stirling, where Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy also spoke.

In a sharp criticism of the Scottish Government, he defended the "efficiency savings" planned for spending in Scotland next year and attacked "irresponsible" complaints over this by the SNP.

Ms Hyslop said the government had signed Scotland's first "local employment partnership" with job centres in a bid to enable employers to help the most disadvantaged find work.

This can range from pre-employment and on-the-job training to reviewing recruitment procedures.

Ms Hyslop said: "By signing this local employment partnership, the Scottish Government is demonstrating its commitment to help those with increased barriers to employment get into work.

"People are our most valuable resource and I am determined to ensure that everyone in our society has the opportunity to get into work or back into work so that they can contribute to Scotland's future economic success and help it recover from the current downturn."

Mr Murphy told the summit of a 95million programme announced earlier this week to provide employment or training for under-25s who have been on Jobseekers' Allowance for a year.

The programme will create 15,000 jobs, and came on top of other measures announced for Scotland in Chancellor Alistair Darling's budget, he said.

He went on to argue that the cuts in next year's Scottish budget - Labour puts the figure at 367m while the SNP said it is nearly 500m - should be achievable.

He added that the Scottish budget had doubled to 34.8billion in the decade since devolution.