Short of opportunities

August 22nd, 2011

A collective sigh of relief was let out from parents and grandparents across Inverclyde last week as the children went back to school.

After six weeks of rainy days stuck indoors, trips to McDonalds, and the inevitable cries of ‘I’m bored’, the sound of the school bell would have been welcome to many of us.

The new school term is exciting time for youngsters, with their new uniforms, new class and new teachers.

And for the lucky pupils at Clydeview and Notre Dame they have a new school to enjoy, marking the latest phase in our ambitious investment in education.

It means these children will have the best possible start in life and hopefully will continue the upwards trend in our improving pupil attainment record.

But what happens after that? That’s the question people are rightly asking against a background of cuts to college and training and rising youth unemployment.

This week, new figures revealed that more than 30 per cent of people claiming job seekers allowance were between 18-24, confirming our fears that there is a lack of opportunities for young people.

There not alone it seems – of the 200 people who have fallen into unemployment in Inverclyde over the last two months, more than half are women.

These are worrying times, and there seems little optimism from government in Edinburgh and London.

Neither George Osborne, nor Alex Salmond seem to have any ideas how to get people back to work or grow the economy.

At the moment, Inverclyde is stuck between a Tory economic policy actively causing unemployment, and an SNP approach which isn’t doing enough to stop it.

While our political leaders adopt a head in the sand approach to the economy, it is communities like Inverclyde that pay the price.

And the real losers will the youngsters leaving our new schools, with few options how to get on in life.