Anas Sarwar is to outline a “New Scottish Skills Benefit” on Tuesday in his party’s National Recovery Plan for Jobs.
The Scottish Labour leader will announce the policy that he says will help people out of work, furloughed or in at-risk industries.
As part of the plan, those currently on furlough or Universal Credit would receive an average of £500 to pay for training to find high-skilled jobs – with up to £750 for attendance for those unemployed.
The total cost in the first Covid year of the New Skills Benefit is anticipated to be £250-300 million – predominantly from the Scottish budget and unallocated Barnett consequentials – before reducing to around £100 million per year.
It comes on the day of the latest unemployment stats with recent Office of National Statistics figures saying the rate rose to 4.3% between March and May.
Ahead of the launch, Mr Sarwar highlighted more than 360,000 people in Scotland are still on furlough – which is due to end in September – and suggested a further 210,000 workers are expected to be unemployed by June.
He added: “This pandemic has created a jobs crisis in Scotland, and it is far from over.
“Put simply, we have five months to come up with a plan to stop mass unemployment.
“That’s why it’s time to ditch the old politics of division and focus instead on national recovery so that we can protect and create jobs.
“The SNP has squandered the opportunity to retrain Scotland’s workforce and we certainly can’t rely on Tories because they want to return us to the old failed economic thinking.
“And as our economy changes, those left behind by Covid or in at-risk industries deserve the support of the government to help find a job to guarantee their future.
“It’s only by using both votes for Scottish Labour that you can guarantee we have a parliament focused on creating jobs and a national recovery.”
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