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Job Creation / Economic Recovery / A New Economy

An Apprenticeship Law -  to get people the skills they need to get back into work and end the shortage of skilled trades people (carpenters, joiners, electricians, etc). In the late 70s there was an apprenticeship law requiring companies to take on apprentices or pay a tax (to prevent companies who failed to train apprentices poaching trained employees at no cost).  It was abolished by the Thatcher government. A new apprenticeship law would create jobs and end shortages of skilled trades-people.

A 35 hour working week to create jobs – In France it created 350,000 new jobs between 1998 and 2002 and reduced stress and exhaustion (that’s according to the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies). It could do the same here. Currently millions are unemployed while those in work are over-worked, stressed and tired. People who aren’t tired can do the same work, more efficiently, in less time. It was scrapped by the conservative French President Sarkozy and his allies in the French parliament in 2008.

Invest in Green Energy Technology - The first wave power system was designed by a Scottish company – and Scotland is well placed to benefit from wave power itself, but because of a lack of interest from the British government it’s Portugal, not Scotland, that was the first country to generate electricity from waves at sea on a large scale. While there has been some government and big company investment in wind power turbines, which have begun to rapidly increase in efficiency and output as a result – and created some jobs – we need to capitalise on the benefits of our geography and weather by investing more in various green energy sources – wind, wave, tidal and (to a lesser extent) solar. If government helped Scottish companies to get into these businesses then we could get jobs both in constructing them (using the skills of ship-builders and welders for instance) and in erecting and maintaining them.

Government support for firms producing efficient, low emission vehicles, electric powered vehicles and hybrid cars - We should also be developing Scottish firms producing low emission, fuel efficient, low petrol cost cars as well as cars with electric engines and hybrid cars that can run on either petrol or electricity. These will all be growing markets as oil supplies begin to decline and petrol prices increase further.

Tax reductions for small and medium sized businesses, funded by tax increases on big businesses The Guardian newspaper reported in October 2008 that ‘Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) - those employing below 250 people account for almost 60% of private sector employment - 13.5 million people - and 51.5% of the private sector's total turnover, the equivalent of £1,440bn...’ ; and they don’t take those jobs abroad at the drop of a hat like ‘foreign direct investment’ by big multinational firms.

No taxes for new small businesses for the first three years or until they make a profit
Small businesses, unlike big multinational companies, do not relocate to another country, taking all the jobs they provided with them, at the drop of a hat, so often. To prevent anyone from exploiting this, any firm which has not gone bankrupt and which chooses to relocate within the country, move to another country or close down will be liable to pay all the taxes from which they were exempt during those three years or less. Of the total number of SMEs the vast majority employ fewer than 50 workers.

Increased government funding for scientific research The few jobs and relatively low pay for scientific research in the UK is creating a ‘brain drain’ of Scottish and British people moving abroad for employment elsewhere. We need to increase the number of governmental scientific research posts in the UK, widen the scope of research (e.g growing beneficial bacteria and microbes which can live on pollutants and break them down to render them relatively harmless) and increase pay for researchers. This would have all kinds of knock on effects in developing scientific breakthroughs that could create jobs and reduce problems like pollution and climate change which affect the health of millions.

More Government grants and subsidies or tax breaks for research into technological ,organisational and other innovations – It’s not only scientists who come up with innovative technologies and ideas and new and better ways of doing things, amateur inventors, business-people, charities, academic researchers, community organisers and others do too.

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