Nicola Sturgeon questioned the location of 2,000 Social Security jobs as ‘outrageous’ decision is recalled – Community News
Social Security

Nicola Sturgeon questioned the location of 2,000 Social Security jobs as ‘outrageous’ decision is recalled

Nicola Sturgeon is furious at the decision to hand out 2,000 new social security jobs to major Scottish cities.

North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane has written a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister in response to the job increases for Glasgow and Dundee.

The head of local government was previously outraged by the Scottish government’s “outrageous” decision to locate Social Security Scotland headquarters in Dundee and Glasgow, saying it would be “difficult to recruit”.

Now Mr. Cullinane has demanded that Ms. Sturgeon disclose the process by which the location of the new jobs was determined.

Council leader Cullinane said in his letter to the Prime Minister: “While the announcement of public sector jobs is welcome, I am writing once again to your Scottish Government asking for clarification on the process by which the location of these jobs is determined and why consistent with the government’s rhetoric about perceived priorities such as ‘inclusive growth’.

“We know from the trial the Scottish Government followed in deciding to locate the Social Security Agency headquarters in Dundee and Glasgow that it ran counter to your government’s policy priorities.

“In the first round of the site assessment, North Ayrshire scored highest in Scotland in ‘inclusive growth’, a recognition that quality, well-paid public sector jobs would have a greater impact in North Ayrshire than in any other local economy in the country .

Council Leader Joe Cullinane
Council Leader Joe Cullinane

“These jobs would have helped address the stark levels of regional inequality that plague Scotland. It was therefore scandalous that North Ayrshire was subsequently knocked out of the assessment process in the first round due to a misconceived, and frankly offensive, position by government officials that it would be ‘difficult to recruit’ in our region, a view I continue to believe was a stain on the skills of the local people.”

The Scottish government said in response this week that they “remain committed to working with the North Ayrshire Council and regional partners to unlock investment and create jobs in the area.”

Mr Cullinane has also questioned the rationale for establishing a new NHS 24 hub in Dundee.

The council leader highlighted an economic report that creating new jobs in the public sector could help eliminate inequalities in the area.

He asked the Prime Minister: “Does your government still believe it will be ‘difficult’ to recruit the people with the necessary skills to undertake these public sectors in North Ayrshire?

“You will be aware that the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) report recognizes the high levels of regional inequality in Scotland and, based on an analysis by the Scottish Government, has found that North Ayrshire has the lowest level of regional resilience in Scotland National investment decisions, in areas such as the creation of new jobs in the public sector, must address such issues.

“It is therefore important for us to understand the Scottish Government’s decision-making process for national investment and how it seeks to reduce regional disparities. I would like to hear your thoughts on your government’s success in integrating this principle into investment decisions .”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The decision on the location of Social Security Scotland was taken several years ago following the completion of a detailed and robust analytical exercise. The new 2,000 jobs to be created will be welcomed and include 400 local jobs across Scotland.

“The Ayrshire Growth Deal, signed in November 2020, provides £103 million in investment from the Scottish Government over ten years to finance projects such as The Great Harbor and Marine Tourism.

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“In addition, we have funded projects as part of the deal, such as the Ayrshire Skills Fund, Working for a Healthy Economy, and Community Wealth Building will support inclusive growth across Ayrshire and strive to develop resilient, inclusive local economies, with more local employment and a large and more diverse business base.

“We remain committed to working with the North Ayrshire Council and regional partners to unlock investment and create jobs in the area and have recently supported the development of Ayrshire’s Regional Economic Partnership, which will set out a regional strategic vision to support the recovery from the pandemic.”

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