Fiona Hyslop Comments on Blackburn local Employment Scheme
Commenting on the recent developments at Blackburn Local Employment Scheme with regards to funding, Fiona Hyslop MSP said:
“As the local Constituency MSP I met with Blackburn Local Employment Scheme (BLES) on October 3rd to hear how I could help and assist them with the financial issues they were having. I wrote to the Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn on October 14th after speaking with Skills Development Scotland about BLES. One of the key issues is that BLES wanted to switch funding for training between 16 and 17 year olds and 18 year olds and over and I enquired about the flexibility of transfer funding between the two groups in the short term.
“I understand that BLES believe that their Employability Funding was reduced in 2016/17, but in fact BLES were awarded funding which is over and above what they were able to deliver in training terms last year.
“BLES were awarded a contract to deliver 154 places with a value of £305k in 2015-16. However, they were unable to deliver the volumes set out in this contract and actually delivered 87 starts with a value of £163k. BLES’ contract for 2016-17 delivery of EF is 89 starts, £193k. This was also following an estimated 87% budget cut by the UK Government before employability services were devolved recently to Scotland.
“I am aware that Scottish Government Ministers met with BLES in November last year and at the time a new board and Chair with appropriate support structures were put in place along with a new recovery plan.
“I continue to be available to support BLES in any way I can.”