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Falkirk Council receive funding to help unemployed people back into work

Jamie Hepburn

Falkirk Council has been named as one of the successful bidders for a Scottish Government Fair Start contract.

Up to £5 million will be available to the local authority.

The money will be used to help unemployed people across the Forth Valley get back into work.

Contracts have been made available to a range of public and private organisations across Scotland.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said, “I’m glad to see the Scottish Government continue to take positive steps in supporting those out of work to get back into the labour market with the announcement of the Fair Start contract winners.

“I was especially pleased to see that Falkirk Council have been successful in their bid to win one of these contracts.

“Falkirk Council will be able to call upon this substantial funding in order to better support people who are unemployed, and find themselves ever further removed from access to the jobs market, and allow a tailored plan to be developed, in collaboration with other service providers which will offer flexible, tailored support, responsive to the needs of Falkirk district’s unemployed.

“I look forward to seeing these plans put in place, and to seeing those who will benefit from these services getting back into work.”

Mr Hepburn told MSPs there would be “significant differences” from the UK government employment services, one of the first powers to be devolved to Holyrood under the Scotland Act 2016.

He said, “Our approach is significantly different than previously seen in UK Government programmes. We’re putting people at the centre of these services and treating them with dignity.

“We are better reflecting Scotland’s geography, regional economies and population spread with nine contract areas rather than simply lumping the whole of Scotland together as one contract package are as has been the case under the UK Government.”

But the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has warned that the schemes will deliver a “second class” service after the majority of funds went to the private sector.

Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Scotland added, “We find it hard to understand how, after such a thorough consultation process, the vast majority of contracts have been awarded to big private sector corporations instead of social enterprises and charities.”

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