Scotland politics

Scottish unions warn on youth unemployment

'Dole Street' sign
Image caption The STUC believes governments have failed to tackle youth unemployment

The STUC has accused the UK and Scottish governments of failing to address youth unemployment.

As Scotland's trades unionists gather for their annual conference in Inverness, it has published its own analysis of official figures.

It said the number of young people out of work and claiming jobseeker's allowance for more than a year has risen by some 1,100% since 2007.

A debate on the issue is due to be heard at the conference.

It will be lead by Georgina Wardrop of the STUC youth committee.

She will attack the record of all governments for failing to listen to young people, and make a specific plea to the coalition government in London to "abandon austerity".

The STUC's latest labour market report showed that in March this year 5,210 Scots aged between 18 and 24 had been receiving jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months.

That compared to 415 in December 2007 - and suggested a rise of 1155.4%.

The STUC figures showed the number of young people claiming the benefit for more than a year had risen by 745% across the UK as a whole over the same period, with Scotland having a higher increase than England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

By March 2012 there were 43,685 Scots aged between 18 and 24 claiming jobseeker's allowance, 127% higher than the total of 19,245 in December 2007.

Figures from last month also showed 15,325 young people in this age group had been out of work and receiving the benefit for more than six months.

Ms Wardrop is herself a graduate, with a first-class honours degree, who has yet to secure full-time work since graduating three years ago.

In a text of her speech released in advance, she said: "I do not appear on any government statistics for long term unemployment because I have managed from time to time to find short term employment, insecure and part-time.

"I am well qualified, I am not lazy and I have tried, and tried again, to secure full-time employment.

"It is time that government at all levels takes meaningful action to provide hope and avoid another lost generation."

Both the UK and Scottish governments have insisted they are taking action to get people into work.

Official figures published last week showed that overall unemployment in Scotland - which includes people out of work and not eligible for benefits - had fallen to 219,000.

Economically inactive

Despite that, the STUC said it was still "extremely concerned about the state of the Scottish labour market", highlighting rising levels of unemployment among women and "persistently high" youth unemployment.

The trade union body has estimated that there are a total of 489,508 people who are either jobless, are economically inactive but who want to work, or are underemployed - those who want another job in addition to existing employment or who want to work more hours in their current position.

A Scottish government spokesman said it was "committed to improving the employability of all Scotland's young people and has guaranteed every 16-19-year-old, who doesn't already have one, a place in education or training through Opportunities for All."

He added: "This comes on top of confirmation by the first minister that we have delivered a record 25,000 Modern Apprentice opportunities this year.

"We have already confirmed that Scottish government funding will support around 1,000 disadvantaged young people into jobs, provide opportunities for up to 2,500 young people linked to major events as well as targeting a share in areas with particular need.

"We continue to work with employers, local authorities and third sector partners to secure the best opportunities for all our young people."

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