ANAS Sarwar has drawn up proposals for “the biggest job creation scheme in the history of devolution” – with plans to spend £1.2 billion on helping Scots get back to work as the country emerges from the economic crisis.

The Scottish Labour leader’s blueprint includes a £500 million “jobs for recovery” guarantee to ensure every young person and Scot who has struggled to find work is guaranteed a job and people can gain access to training.

Mr Sarwar has warned Scotland needs “ambitious action to confront the national jobs emergency triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The £500 million jobs for recovery’ guarantee would include six months of employment, and training, administered through a national platform.

The initiative will be open to every person under the age of 25 who does not have a job, everyone over 25 who has faced long-term employment and every person with a disability who does not have a job.

Mr Sarwar has stressed that the new jobs created will not pose a risk of redundancies in established workforces.

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He said his ambitious plans are “not designed to try and stifle opportunities in the private sector” but intended to set up a “partnership” between public, private and third sectors.

Setting apart his strategy from the SNP’s jobs guarantee proposals, Mr Sarwar claimed that the Scottish Government scheme “only created opportunities for 18,000 people”. 

He added: “I want us to be much more bold and ambitious than that. 

“We cannot risk put 100,00 young people on the unemployed scrap heap.” 

The Labour leader insisted his £1.2billion plans were “a drop in the ocean”compared to the amount of funding handed out for the Covid furlough scheme, stressing “we’ve got the money to do it” .

Those who qualify will apply through a national scheme for their preferences for the sector they wish to work in and will be matched to local opportunities.

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The Office for National Statistics warned unemployment in Scotland rose to 4.3 per cent between March and May as the impact of the pandemic continued to take a toll – an increase of 0.6 percentage points from the previous quarter and the highest rate of unemployment in the UK.

Mr Sarwar said: “Scotland is facing a national jobs emergency – and without urgent ambitious action we could see hundreds of thousands of people facing a future out of work.

“The people of Scotland deserve a brighter future, which is why stimulating the economy and creating jobs is at the heart of Scottish Labour’s national recovery plan.

“We have just months to act, but with ambitious action we can confront this emergency and tackle the emerging jobs crisis.

“This is a guarantee for every young person or unemployed person to have a job or and for everyone who needs it to get access to paid training.

“It is the biggest job creation scheme in the history of devolution – but it is the scale of ambition that is necessary to battle the crisis.”

Mr Sarwar added: “The cost of doing nothing is even greater – mass unemployment would fall hardest on young Scots, potentially leaving up to 100,000 people out of work.

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“Neither Nicola Sturgeon nor Boris Johnson has the ambition to deliver what is needed – and Scotland deserves better that they can offer.

“Scottish Labour will put national recovery before all else and will focus on what unites us, not what divides us.”

Also included in Labour’s plans is a new Scottish skills benefit which would allow those on furlough or currently unemployed to up-skill or retrain. As of the end of January 360,000 Scots had been put on furlough.

Mr Sarwar’s £1.2 billion jobs package also includes targeted finds to recruit and train key workers including nurses, carers, teachers, health works and engineers – along with extra funding for apprenticeships.

The party has also pledged to eliminate all zero-hours contracts in the public sector.