Lamont facing new hypocrisy charge after criticising school leaver monitoring


   By a Newsnet reporter

Johann Lamont has been left facing a charge of hypocrisy after her attacks at FMQs on the monitoring of school leavers swiftly unravelled.

At FMQs today Johann Lamont criticised the way in which school leavers destinations are monitored, claiming that 17,000 former school pupils are unaccounted for. Yet just three weeks ago Labour voted against the Post-16 Education Bill which is set to significantly improve the monitoring of where people end up after school.

The Bill will help to improve data sharing between education institutions and Skills Development Scotland (SDS), ensuring that when a young person is at risk of disengaging from learning and training, SDS will be made aware and offer them suitable support back into education or training.

On 27 March the bill passed stage one of its passage through Holyrood, despite no Labour MSPs voting in favour.

Employment statistics released yesterday show that youth employment is higher in Scotland than the UK figure while youth unemployment is lower than the UK. In the space of a single year, Scotland has achieved a hugely significant fall in youth unemployment of 6.8%.

Commenting, SNP MSP Clare Adamson who sits on the Education and Culture Committee said:

“Johann Lamont’s attack at FMQs today was quite extraordinary given that her own party has voted against improving the way in which we monitor the pathways that school leavers take.

“How on earth can she justify opposing improvements in this area one day and then attack the Scottish Government’s record just a few weeks later?

“Stage 1 of any bill is about voting on the principles behind it rather than the details. The fact that Labour voted against the bill at that stage can only mean that they’re opposed to the principle of better monitoring of school leaver destinations and widening access to university.

“Either Johann Lamont is behaving in a completely hypocritical manner today or she didn’t even know what was in the Post-16 Education Bill before ordering her MSPs to vote against it.

“Either way it reflects extremely poorly on her leadership and she has serious questions to answer about how she can justify such behaviour.

“If she wants to be taken seriously on this issue then Labour must drop its obstructionist approach to the Post-16 Education Bill and start positively engaging with us as we work to improve opportunities for young people in Scotland.”