Almost half of jobseekers not accessing Fair Start Scotland

Almost half of referred jobseekers are not accessing Fair Start Scotland, a back to work scheme launched by the SNP, according to the latest statistics released by the Scottish Government.

This means that the SNP could miss their own target to get eligible jobless Scots into the scheme by 10,000.

Scotland’s Devolved Employment Services, published last week, shows that 45 percent of jobless individuals referred to Fair Start Scotland do not take part.

This news comes only a few days after the SNP Government admitted that it would take nine years to take over social security, three years later than previously announced.

As part of the devolution of welfare, the SNP took responsibility for the work programme, and relaunched it as Fair Start Scotland. The programme is voluntary, but the SNP has set a target of 38,000 people taking part over three years.

The report shows that in its first nine months, there were 12,969 referrals but only 7,031 starts – an uptake rate of only 55 per cent.

If the rate of the first nine months is continued, then only around 28,000 people will go through the programme, 10,000 short of the target.

The SNP have repeatedly refused to give any interim targets.

The Scottish Conservatives have said that this is yet more evidence that the SNP has not properly prepared for running a Scottish welfare system.

Michelle Ballantyne, Scottish Conservative shadow social security secretary, said:

“The SNP hasn’t properly prepared for the devolution of social security

“After announcing that they will take nine years to devolve social security, we now know that almost half of eligible candidates are not joining the back-to-work scheme.

“The SNP claimed it would only take 18 months to set up an independent Scotland.

“Yet again the reality of SNP activity falls far short of their promises.

“The SNP has failed to revitalise our economy and ensure that we have the skilled workforce that we need..

“The SNP must pick up the pace and make sure people getting back to work have the support and the opportunities they need.”