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Richard Leonard: Act now to avert jobs crisis

SCOTLAND must act to prevent a youth unemployment crisis, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said today. 

Mr Leonard warned a financial crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic could cause lasting consequences for young people across Scotland.

Writing in the Scotsman, the Central Scotland MSP said that he fears the country could witness mass unemployment by the summer and it could last a decade.

Referring to the looming recession, Mr Leonard said that not to do everything possible to prevent a widespread drop in employment would be “not just an economic but a moral failure.”

He said: “This will be potentially as bad now as it was at the height of the great recession of the 1980s.

“Because having been shaken out of work by the lockdown effect, it will be much tougher to get back into it.”

He also highlighted the already unstable working environment for many young people.

Full employment must be the goal, with significant levels of state intervention put in place in Scotland, he said.

“In a country with so much unmet need, tackling unemployment must be our number-one economic priority.

“It’s my view that we have a responsibility as a society to make sure that this isn’t a lost generation. We want our young people’s talents to flourish.

“Our task in these troubled times is to harness the efforts, the creativity and the resolve of the people, including our young people, by offering hope, beyond the lockdown.”

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