Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Scottish Questions - Moore lives to fight another day

It was Michael Moore's first outing at Scottish Questions as Secretary of State for this morning, and he was on his feet arguing he should keep the job his party wanted to see abolished before the election.

He's been in the post just 16 days, Jim Murphy reminded him, which was precisely as long as the last Secretary of State, Danny Alexander, lasted. Murphy hoped that Moore would live to fight another day and, responding to teasing questions from Labour shadow, Moore agreed that his post should remain, with him in it, for the time being.

Murphy, the now shadow Scottish Secretary, also sympathised with Moore for being in a minority in the cabinet, after all the Berwickshire MP isn't a millionaire.

But what did he think of that "gang of millionaires turning their back on the unemployed of Scotland" by cancelling the Future Jobs Fund, asked Murphy?

Unemployment in Scotland rose by 7,000 in the three months to April, official figures released yesterday showed.

The number of people out of work now stands at 212,000 - 35,000 more than in the same period last year.

Not our fault, insisted Moore, deploying the line that Cameron used in Prime Minister's Questions later.

"The reality is that the future jobs fund was set up on an unsustainable basis and what we need to do is to ensure we get a sustainable basis for the future of youth unemployment support," said Moore.

"Those proposals will come forward in very close order. Before you set up too many scare stories, existing bids will be honoured under the future jobs fund."

The fund was set up to provide 200,000 jobs to young people and paid at least the minimum wage for at least six months. That's longer than most Scottish Secretaries last these days.

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