Government Defeat Over Careers Strategy

Opposition parties at Holyrood succeeded in voting down the Government on its new skills strategy motion yesterday.

Suffering its second major defeat since May, this means that the SNPís plans on skills, which include its proposals to merge Careers Scotland and Learn Direct Scotland to create a huge new central belt based quango, have been thrown out by Parliament.

Mr Peacock spoke out in Parliament, where Ms Hyslop outlined her plans, asking the Minister to: "explain why she is the first Minister in decades to break a cross Party consensus which recognised that in matters of skills, social and economic development in the Highlands and Islands the approach to service delivery should be different to reflect the different powers, responsibilities and approach of HIE and the local authorities to that of Scottish Enterprise."

He added, "HIE is widely recognised to have been outstandingly successful in social and economic development and I hope this is not the thin end of a wedge to progressively strip HIE of its ability to serve the distinct needs of this unique region. "

He urged the Minister: "even now to undertake to re-consider her approach in the Highlands and Islands, to work with HIE and the local authorities to retain local decision making and develop a distinct regional approach which forges ever closer connections to schools, where top rate careers advice is needed."

Following the 72-47 vote against the strategy Mr Peacock said, "This is a significant defeat for the SNP minority government with Parliament showing it has no confidence in their strategy.

"While the minority government are not obliged to revise their plans, given they have not secured majority support in Parliament I believe they should take the opportunity to reflect hard on what they have done and come back to Parliament with new proposals which take better account of the regionís distinct need."


13 Septembert 2007

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