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More powers would benefit Scottish economy
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop recently published the National Conversation paper on Employability and Skills which promotes the idea of a single system of support for those in training and those looking for a job.
Ms Hyslop said that the paper underlined the need for policy levers, currently reserved to Westminster, to be transferred to Scotland.
Ms Hyslop published the paper as she launched a brand new One Stop Shop, 'Customer Services Centre' at Kilmarnock College which will provide students with a dedicated area providing information, advice and support services such as employment and training thanks to accelerated capital funding from the Scottish Government.
The Education Secretary said:
"This Government is ambitious for Scotland. We want a Scotland which can meet its full economic potential, where individuals are equipped to make a strong contribution and where poverty is a thing of the past. We want a Scotland which is equipped to succeed in the modern global economy and where people who can work are supported to do so.
"Our most important resource is our people. In Scotland we have fewer lower skilled people and more highly skilled people than anywhere else in the UK outside London.
"Despite the progress that has been, a UK designed system of support for unemployed people in Scotland is constraining what the Scottish Government can do to improve employability. Without full responsibility for all policy implemented in Scotland, including policies governing social security benefits and employment support, those constraints on our ambitions will remain in place.
"Today the Scottish Government publishes the National Conversation paper on employability and skills. The excellent project I am opening here today at Kilmarnock College demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations and agencies work together to provide co-ordinated support for those seeking employment in one place at one time. I want to enhance this project through a more cohesive approach across Scotland's employability and skills system.
"Helping those who can work move successfully into sustainable employment is critical to our future economic and social success.
"This Government believes that independence is the best way forward for Scotland and today's paper makes that case. This National Conversation paper provides all of Scotland's people with the opportunity to think about the sort of country they want Scotland to be. We welcome all views. We have the ability to design and build a fairer, stronger Scotland - and that is an opportunity we must seize."
The Employability and Skills paper is the eighth in a series of papers being published by the Scottish Government as contributions to the National Conversation.
The Scottish Government is employing a variety of tools to tackle the root causes of poverty, remove barriers and address employability in Scotland. Examples include the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence and the publication of Skills for Scotland.
Despite progress made, the current devolution settlement constrains what the Scottish Government can do to improve employability, as the Scottish Government does not have full responsibility for all policy implemented in Scotland, such as social security benefits and employment support.
While the Scottish Government has welcomed the proposals of the Commission on Scottish Devolution in this area, they do not go far enough in enabling the Scottish Government to tackle unemployment. In particular, under these proposals, decisions taken outside Scotland will continue to have a direct impact on the employment prospects of people across Scotland.
This paper sets out what a future Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament could do under further devolution or independence. Examples considered include what could be done to help people seeking employment support and people facing redundancy.
It sets out options for the people of Scotland if they choose to seek further responsibilities for their Parliament and Government.