Martin Whitfield MSP has welcomed a new commitment from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves that a future Labour government would take action to reverse the recent decline in manufacturing jobs in Scotland and across the UK.
In her first major intervention in Scottish politics since coming into post, Ms Reeves has pledged to buy, make and sell more in Scotland and the rest of the UK under a Labour government. As part of the economic recovery, Labour’s plans would raise standards across the UK, award more public contracts to British businesses and bring the jobs of the future to the UK.
At a UK and Scottish level, Labour will use public contracts to grow skills and raise standards, taking inspiration from approaches in other countries including France and the US. As well as raising standards nationally and globally, this move will help boost British business and create new jobs.
In Scotland, the SNP has failed to use its significant procurement spend to boost Scottish business, create jobs, raise environmental standards and improve workers’ terms and conditions. The Scottish public sector spends around £11 billion a year on good and services. This financial clout could be used for good. However, less than one per cent of Scotland’s SMEs actually benefited from this procurement spend.
Scottish Labour has proposed a local first approach to procurement to benefit Scottish businesses. This should be accompanied by a Better Business Pledge, requiring all businesses that benefit from public procurement to commit to paying the Scottish Living Wage and collective bargaining, and not using not zero-hours contracts or similar insecure work practices. This would also introduce a local first approach to procurement to maximise its impact.
Scottish Labour has also proposed a Scottish Energy Development Agency to coordinate the growth in renewable energy production including in skills and training and ensure that green supply chain jobs stay in Scotland.
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves MP said:
“As we recover from the pandemic, we have a chance to seize new opportunities and shape a new future for Scotland and the rest of Britain.
“For too long, the people of Scotland have not had a government fighting to deliver jobs and growth in the country. 121,000 Scots are unemployed, thousands of jobs in renewable energy have been lost and the country’s manufacturing base has been hollowed out.
“Only Labour will get our economy firing on all cylinders by giving people new skills for the jobs of the future here in Scotland, bringing security and resilience back to our economy and public services, and helping our high streets thrive again.
“That starts with our plan to buy, make and sell more in Scotland and the rest of Britain. From green jobs in manufacturing electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines, to fin tech, digital media and film, we must grow modern industries to build a long-term economy that provides good jobs and is built for the future.”
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“As we recover from the pandemic, we have a chance to seize new opportunities and shape a new future for Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“Labour will get our economy firing on all cylinders by giving people new skills for the jobs of the future here in the UK, bringing security and resilience back to our economy and public services, and helping our high streets thrive again. That starts with our plan to make, sell and buy more in Scotland.
“While the Conservative and SNP governments are allowing manufacturing jobs to disappear across Scotland, Labour has a real plan to nurture the skills of the future and bring jobs to the South Scotland region.”