Westminster’s decision to stand in the way of Scotland accessing EU funding to help tackle youth unemployment has been branded one of the clearest examples of Westminster’s anti-Europe agenda “actively damaging” the job prospects of people in Scotland.

The European Youth Guarantee provides young people under 25 an apprenticeship, training place, job or the chance to continue in education within four months of leaving education or becoming unemployed. However, the UK Government does not support the scheme, meaning that young people lose out on the EU support available to them.

In Scotland the Opportunities for All scheme already guarantees an offer of work, training or education for young people in a similar way to the EU’s Youth Guarantee – but the Westminster Government’s stance means that Scotland is unable to benefit from this EU funding.

Commenting, SNP MEP Ian Hudghton said:

“Creating jobs and tackling youth unemployment is one of the SNP’s top priorities and we have made great strides in addressing this – with our Opportunities for All scheme guaranteeing a place in work, training or education for all 16 to 19 year olds.

“As positive as this progress is, we will always work to secure more jobs and training opportunities for Scotland’s young people.

“The European Youth Guarantee would give Scotland the chance to access funding to build on the Opportunities for All scheme the SNP has already delivered – but Westminster prevents Scotland from accessing this.

“It is one of the clearest examples possible of Westminster’s anti-Europe agenda actively damaging the job prospects of people in Scotland.

“While the SNP are pulling out all the stops to tackle youth unemployment, Westminster is happy to stand by when more could be done to create opportunities for young people.

“With a vote for the SNP on the 22nd of May and a Yes vote in September, we can make Scotland’s mark in Europe and ensure that the needs of young people in Scotland are never sacrificed to Westminster’s petty agenda.”

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