By Cara Sulieman
THE GOVERNMENT has come under fire for only handing out employment funding to TWO Scottish firms.
The job creation fund has splashed £30 million on grants in Scotland but private firms has received just a fraction of that cost – with most going to local authorities.
They have been criticised for handing taxpayers’ money from one section of government to another and not supporting struggling private businesses.
The £1 billion Future Jobs Fund gives employers up to £6,500 to take on a young person aged 18 to 24 for six months.
But of the 10,328 grants handed out in Scotland, just 462 have gone to private businesses.
Most of those have gone to the Scottish Premier League to take on out of work footballers, ground maintenance staff and trainee coaches.
A further 30 went to a firm that helps unemployed people find work placements.
The vast majority of the remaining grants were given to state bodies who are already employ more than ever and face massive cuts following the general election.
David Watt, from the Institute of Directors, said that the government needs to do more to promote the scheme.
He said: “It looks to me as thought the Government are simply taking money from one area of the public sector and handing it to another to create jobs.
“Given the pressures the public sector is facing, that’s clearly not sustainable in the long term.
“We need more awareness and direct promotion in the private sector and the government needs to do more to encourage private companies to get engaged in this scheme.
“Because of the lack of promotion it appears very few companies know much about it.”
Labour say their job creation fund is designed to give jobless youngsters the chance to experience the “pride and purpose of work”.
UK employment minister Jim Knight defended the scheme saying: “Every one of these jobs is a win for people as they secure a real full time job, a win for employers as the Government pays the wages and a win for the local area as the criteria states that every job must deliver community benefits.
“We encourage Future Jobs Fund bids from all areas of Scotland and across the country.
“Any employer from the voluntary, public or private sector is welcome to apply so long as they guarantee six months’ employment and at least minimum wage.
“Many private sector organisations are doing so.”