Don’t count zero-hour jobs in fig­ures: Labour

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TOM TOR­RANCE

YOUNG­STERS who find work on a zero-hours con­tract af­ter leav­ing school should not be classed as hav­ing achieved a “pos­i­tive des­ti­na­tion” in Scot­tish Govern­ment statis­tics, Labour has claimed.

Ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Iain Gray said the cur­rent method for mea­sur­ing what teenagers do af­ter school re­garded “al­most any job, no mat­ter how tem­po­rary or inse­cure, as a suc­cess”.

A ma­jor over­haul of the sys­tem is needed, he added.

The lat­est statis­tics showed that in 2015-16 91.4% of school leavers went on to a “pos­i­tive des­ti­na­tion”, such as uni­ver­sity, col­lege, train­ing or work, down from 92% in 201415. In the most af­flu­ent ar­eas, 96.2% of school leavers achieved this, com­pared to 85% in the most de­prived com­mu­ni­ties.

Mr Gray said: “SNP min­is­ters have long hid­den be­hind ‘pos­i­tive des­ti­na­tion’ statis­tics which count al­most any job, no mat­ter how tem­po­rary or inse­cure, as a suc­cess.

“There’s noth­ing pos­i­tive about the rise in zero-hours con­tracts, but that’s how they are clas­si­fied by the SNP.

“We can’t start to im­prove out­comes un­til we know what a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion from ed­u­ca­tion to em­ploy­ment is. The Scot­tish Govern­ment’s cur­rent cri­te­ria is no longer fit for pur­pose.

“If SNP min­is­ters are se­ri­ous about im­prov­ing life chances for the next gen­er­a­tion, they have to get se­ri­ous about fac­ing up to how well, or how badly, their poli­cies are work­ing. “It’s time for a ma­jor over­haul. “SNP min­is­ters have been too dis­tracted to fo­cus on the day job and too ready to be­lieve their own ‘spin’, so Labour is do­ing their job for them and putting for­ward a pro­posal that would trans­form the way we mea­sure suc­cess.”

Labour favours re­turn­ing to the sys­tem used by the pre­vi­ous Scot­tish Ex­ec­u­tive, which tracked young­sters’ progress over sev­eral years.

Such changes would tie in with pro­pos­als in the party’s in­dus­trial strat­egy, which in­cludes plans to in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion to tackle skill short­ages, par­tic­u­larly in the STEM sub­jects of science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths, Labour said.

The party also wants to en­sure pub­lic con­tracts are not awarded to com­pa­nies that carry out black­list­ing, put work­ers on zero-hours con­tracts or fail to pay the liv­ing wage.

Labour ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Iain Gray

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