Less talk, more action

September 12th, 2011

New powers for the National Library of Scotland and a tightening of the law of Freedom of Information requests.

That was just two of the 15 bills put forward by a Scottish Government which claimed it was determined to make the most of its powerful majority in Holyrood.

To be fair, there was long overdue legislation for self-directed care and reform of the legal aid system.

But this was a legislative programme light on substance, allowing the First Minister to concentrate on his constitutional wrangles.

I was disappointed that there were no plans to look at more robust child protection measures, appropriate housing allocations or a tough drug prevention strategy.

I did welcome the First Minister’s commitment to jobs but I will wait to see what his plans to ‘reindustrialise’ Scotland mean for Inverclyde.

New figures this week reveal an over-dependence on public sector jobs, with more than third of us employed by the state, at a time of massive spending cuts.

Manufacturing has fallen back to 20 per cent, an area traditionally strong for us, while the construction industry accounted for just two per cent of our jobs.

I was stunned that in an area where new schools, housing and other regenerations works have been ongoing, we have the second lowest proportion of construction workers in Scotland.

We also have a lower share of managerial, professional and skilled trade jobs than other parts of Scotland.

It’s not all doom and gloom and I was encouraged to see that Inverclyde has grown its share of financial and insurance activities jobs, now the ninth highest in Scotland.

But with an unemployment rate of 8.3 per cent, we need to ensure we get our share of jobs.

So far, we have been frustrated by the regeneration cuts, the reductions at the college and the lack of green jobs at Inchgreen.

If this Scottish Government is serious about ‘reindustrialising’ Scotland, communities like Inverclyde cannot afford to be left out.