A lucky es­cape from re­ces­sion

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - Ger­ard Killen MP MP FOR FOR RUTHER­GLEN RUTHER­GLEN AND AND HAMIL­TON HAMIL­TON WEST

The an­nounce­ment last week that the planned clo­sure of Cam­bus­lang Job­cen­tre is to be re­versed is a vic­tory for lo­cal cam­paign­ers who fought hard to re­tain the ser­vices lo­cally.

And it will be wel­come news for those al­ready strug­gling to find work, par­tic­u­larly the higher than av­er­age num­bers of young peo­ple who are out of work in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West.

Un­for­tu­nately many of the clo­sures next door in Glas­gow and across the coun­try will still go ahead as planned, mak­ing it harder for those who with the least to ac­cess vi­tal sup­port tells you every­thing you need to know about this Con­ser­va­tive Govern­ment.

Lis­ten­ing to the Tory work and pen­sions sec­re­tary last week, it seems we should all be grate­ful for this “more ef­fi­cient ser­vice” that will move job cen­tres fur­ther away but con­tinue to sanc­tion those who fail to make ap­point­ments in search of jobs that are of­ten low paid and in­se­cure thanks, in part, to Con­ser­va­tive stew­ard­ship of the econ­omy.

Thank­fully, new GDP fig­ures re­leased last week showed that Scot­land’s econ­omy has avoided re­ces­sion with 0.8 per cent growth in the first quar­ter of 2017 com­pared to 0.2 per cent in the UK over­all.

This is largely due to a rise in out­put from in­dus­tries linked to the North Sea and, although en­cour­ag­ing, it was a nar­row es­cape from re­ces­sion and with an­nual av­er­age growth be­ing sub­stan­tially lower than the UK, it is vi­tal the UK and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments do not be­come com­pla­cent and re­peat the mis­takes of the past by re­ly­ing too heav­ily on the North Sea oil in­dus­try for growth.

That is why I wel­come Scot­tish Labour’s rad­i­cal in­dus­trial strat­egy, pub­lished last week, with plans that could grow Scot­tish GDP by al­most £45 bil­lion.

It is a bold, mod­ern blue­print that not only sets out a strat­egy for de­liv­er­ing a strong econ­omy fit for the fu­ture, but that also seeks to put Labour val­ues at the heart of an in­clu­sive econ­omy.

It is a com­mit­ment to full em­ploy­ment, a plan for fair pay, pro­tec­tion of work­ers’ rights, fairer pro­cure­ment, a gen­uine work-life bal­ance for peo­ple suf­fer­ing the stress of long work­ing hours, and investment in ed­u­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly in science, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and maths that I hope will en­sure young peo­ple in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West and across the coun­try have the skills they need to com­pete for the jobs of to­mor­row.

There is no doubt that the ac­tions and pri­or­i­ties of the Con­ser­va­tive UK Govern­ment cre­ates chal­lenges in the Scot­tish econ­omy but the SNP Scot­tish Govern­ment has the power to set Scot­land on a dif­fer­ent path and must not be al­lowed off the hook.

It is only Labour in the UK and Scot­land that has a plan to work co­he­sively for jobs and eco­nomic devel­op­ment and we will con­tinue to put pres­sure on Scot­land’s two gov­ern­ments, mak­ing that case for the investment, in­no­va­tion and the bold change we need to rein­dus­tri­alise the Scot­tish econ­omy and make Scot­land one of the most pro­duc­tive na­tions in the western world.

It is vi­tal the UK and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments do not be­come com­pla­cent

Eco­nomic growth But Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West MP be­lieves there must be less de­pen­dance on North Sea oil go­ing for­ward

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