The Scottish Conservatives would introduce “job security councils” to help workers who have been made redundant find new employment, party leader Douglas Ross has said.
Based on Swedish schemes, he said such councils had helped up to 90% of laid-off staff return to work by matching them with similar jobs.
The new Scottish Tory leader discussed his proposals for the economy during an interview on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme.
He said they would be funded through efficiencies in the Scottish Government’s existing budget.
Mr Ross said: “The SNP Scottish Government over the last 13 years have failed at spending Scottish taxpayers’ money to the best of their ability.
“The catalogue of failures is extremely long and I think we do have to look at these failures, we do have to look at what better decisions could have been made and should have been made.”
Asked how he would pay for the job security councils, he said: “Because we will have a greater number of people back in employment, back supporting the economy and putting money into the economy.”
Asked if this was “cart before the horse”, Mr Ross said: “We’ve seen so many failings where taxpayers’ money has been wasted, I want to see that ended and ensure our vital resources go into securing good jobs, good communities and good employment and take Scotland forward.”
Coronavirus-related job retention schemes are being wound down around the world, Mr Ross said.
Countries that have extended their furlough schemes have provided less support overall than the UK Government, the Scottish Conservative leader claimed.
He said: “The value of the French and the German schemes are significantly less than the UK’s scheme.
“The UK’s scheme is one of the most generous in the world. Even with an extension to 24 months in France and Germany the contribution from the government will be less to employees and businesses than we have seen in the United Kingdom.”
The Scottish Conservatives released their economic proposals in a policy paper called Power Up Scotland on Monday.
Policies include a call for a fully integrated transport system, with an Oyster card-like payment method that would work across all public transport networks, as well as faster rail links between cities.
They further propose a three-lane M8 and a “Scottish Dynamo to compete with the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine”, investing in infrastructure north of the border.
The party is also proposing community right-to-buy schemes for businesses like local pubs and a town centre rescue plan.
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