Labour’s Neil Bibby has made calls for a fairer deal for West Scotland back to the Scottish Parliament.
The MSP is accusing the Scottish Government of scrapped targets requiring action to close the employment gap between Scotland’s most and least well-off regions. Bibby is calling for action from Ministers to force regional inequality back up the political agenda.
The West of Scotland is home to communities that rank among the hardest hit by the pandemic, including areas with higher than average unemployment and some of the most deprived datazones in Scotland.
Neil Bibby MSP, during the exchange in Parliament with Holyrood’s Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, said: “Crisis-hit communities cannot be left behind as Scotland builds out of the Covid crisis. The pandemic has hit parts of the West harder than the country as a whole and shone a light on entrenched inequalities holding our region back.
“Parts of the West of Scotland experience the highest unemployment and the greatest deprivation in the entire country. The economy isn’t working for the West and if government is seriously going to build back to something better then it must confront regional inequalities neglected for too long.
“Clear, ambitious, new targets can drive change and put the gap between Scotland’s regions back on the political agenda. The West deserves a much fairer deal from the Scottish Government, with our fair share of investment and a stronger recovery that works for the West’s left-behind communities.”
SNP Minister Richard Lochhead, replied to Bibby, he said: “I take a great interest in regional policy.
“It is difficult for the member to say that we have not been implementing regional policy, given that we have agreed more than £1.9billion of funding for city region and regional growth deals across Scotland.
“Regional partners anticipate that will support more than 80,000 jobs and attract more than £1billion of additional investment across Scotland’s cities and regions.
“Regional policy is very important. The government is looking at Scotland’s economic transformation over the next ten years.
“I am sure that the advisory council is looking at the role of regional policy, and we look forward to its deliberations.”