A WEST Scotland MSP has hit out at the Scottish Government for “failing to secure” sustainable long-term employment opportunities for people in Dumbarton and the Vale.

Pam Gosal from the Scottish Conservatives has accused the SNP government of failing to fully resource their flagship Fair Start Scotland (FSS) scheme.

According to recent figures, only nine per cent of individuals referred to the scheme, a national employment support service which helps those with “significant” barriers to employment, have stayed in employment for 26 weeks or more.

In West Dunbartonshire, 945 people were referred to the scheme by the end of March 2021, but only 75 stayed in employment for over six months.

That means only seven per cent were kept in work.

Ms Gosal said: “It is hugely concerning that such a small number of people referred by this flagship SNP employment scheme are remaining in work for a sustainable period.

“This is all too typical of the SNP.

"They announce a flagship scheme to much fanfare but they have failed to fully resource this programme to ensure long-term employment for individuals in West Dunbartonshire.

“As we hopefully continue to ease restrictions, we are facing a looming economic crisis.

"This scheme must start delivering for people seeking vital employment opportunities in West Dunbartonshire.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The percentages quoted are not accurate as they include participants who are still receiving employment support and due to the barriers that many participants face, it will take time for them to move towards employment.

“We continue to invest in our employability services including more than £27 million this financial year for FSS, ensuring it provides support to those in our communities who need it most.

“The delivery period of the service has been extended for a further two years providing stability and continuity for FSS participants and to respond to anticipated Covid-19 related increase in demand for support from those who need it most.”