Commitment of funding to jobs problem

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COUNCILLORS have agreed to invest £5 million to tackle youth unemployment and £7.8 million in early years’ support.

At last week’s Fife Council meeting, members discussed a report on the context and challenges for the Kingdom, which contained a range of information about the population, communities and economy, including statistical projections up to 2035.

They then approved a motion to commit extra funds to areas of major concern and to also carry out strategic reviews into the school estate and charges and concessions.

Fife Council leader, Alex Rowley said: “At our last executive meeting, we looked in some detail at the scale of the unemployment problem and saw compelling evidence of the need for early intervention with families to help children develop to their full potential.

“We can’t afford to wait until a new budget is set and a new financial year begins next April.

“We’ve seen the true scale of the challenge and I’m delighted councillors have agreed to new funding arrangements, so that we can start to act now.”

The report detailed that 70.1 per cent of Fifers were working in 2011 but there had been a 48.2 per cent (1063) increase in the total number of 18-24 year-olds claiming jobseekers’ allowance since 2005.

The cash from the council’s balances will be spent over the next two years supporting young people into sustainable training, apprenticeships and employment.

Proposals for a council care home replacement programme will also be brought to a future council meeting

Levenmouth councillor, Alistair Hunter, said at the meeting: “I too welcome any emphasis and additional spend on youth unemployment, early years provision and support for the elderly.

“I am reminded of Ghandi’s words that said ‘A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members’.

“As a chamber, I’m sure we can all unite behind this rhetoric.”