Thursday, 29 March 2012

Rural poverty and joblessness warning

YOUTH unemployment across Scotland, not least outside major urban conurbations, is a serious and often overlooked problem, the nation's politicians have been warned.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, who has led an investigation into the wider issue, has told Holyrood's finance committee that there is "astonishing poverty" in rural regions. He said that jobs were needed and that de-population would result if there was not a change of direction.

Lord Smith declared: "Just because the sun is shining right now and there are green hills around Peebles and Gala - it looks idyllic - but it's actually very, very tough. Some of the jobs that fill the gap down there are one-man-band type things. There are very, very [few] businesses that can take on people."

He warned: "We need to look further afield than that, unless we want these places to become totally depopulated. We don't want to do that... [P]eople have families and connections and so on... I think it's a job for government to try to steer companies into those areas. Their brains are just as good as they are in the inner city."

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