SNP Government is all talk, no action

26th September 2008 at 01:00

At the last election, I voted for the SNP because, while I felt the incumbent Labour Government was solid if unspectacular, it was time for a change. However, the SNP Government's record on the teaching issue alone has demonstrated that, like all the others (and most politicians), it talks a lot and does very little.

My partner and a number of friends have been faced with unemployment after such hard work to get through university and probation. In addition to the economic hardship this causes, it is demoralising.

The Government has done little to speak directly to teachers about the problems and clearly lay out how it is tackling the issue. It would not be unreasonable for the Education Secretary to contact a sample of unemployed teachers to gain an understanding of the problems they are facing.

Fiona Hyslop assured our unemployed teachers that there would be work for them at some point over the course of the year. In the economic climate, with a looming recession and rising food and fuel prices, is she so deluded as to believe that these teachers can survive on Pounds 60-a-week jobseeker's allowance? Many have a mortgage and keep their car so as to be able to get to any supply posts that arise.

Their only option is to take on an evening job as they cannot work during the day, because they must wait by the phone hoping it rings for supply. Naturally, a part-time evening job is not enough the pay the bills.

It is incredible that, when there are so many unemployed teachers, schools are allowed to bring back retired teachers for supply. My partner had a half-day supply one week and met a retired teacher who had been given work for the whole week - and presumably on a higher rate.

I do not want to hear that it is Labour's fault or London's fault. I do not care why the situation has arisen. I just want to know what the Government is going to do about it in the form of a reply from the minister, rather than from a civil servant providing a nondescript answer which says a lot without saying anything.

Stephen Canning, Carrickstone, Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

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