To create a truly equal society, every Scot - young and old - must get the opportunity and support to flourish

LAST week, Ed Miliband published Labour's cost-of-living contract with hardworking Britain.

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The link between the wealth of our country and everyday family finances has been broken.

And one of the biggest challenges facing our generation is how we restore that link so that we have a broad prosperity, shared by all.

Pooling and sharing our resources across the UK, we will grow a strong Scottish economy, where people enjoy a rising standard of living and everyone can achieve their full potential.

And what Scotland needs, is a government that has the moral courage to reform and renew the system, not manage the problem.

The next Labour government will take immediate action to deal with the pressures facing hard-working people.

That means that together we will freeze gas and electricity bills, while at the same time reforming the system to break up the monopoly of the big six energy companies.

Everyone deserves a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. That means banning exploitative zero-hour contracts and making the Living Wage the expectation, not the exception, using public procurement rules to ensure fair employment practices.

As we emerge from the economic crisis, youth and long-term unemployment remain as one of the biggest blights on communities, across the UK.

This is why the centrepiece and foundation stone of our economic plan is a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people and the long-term unemployed.

This means that anyone older than 25 who has been receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for two years or more, or anyone under 25-years-old who has been receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for one year or more, will get a guaranteed job.

The job will pay the minimum wage for 25 hours a week and offer at least 10 hours a week of training.

Investment in the compulsory jobs guarantee will be fully funded by bringing back the tax on bankers' bonuses and by restricting pension tax relief for the very highest earners.

This will give thousands of people who feel written off or who have lost hope the chance for an improved life.

Every young person is an asset to our society and our economy. That is why we believe vocational education is just as important as academic courses.

And there must now be a renewed focus on Scotland's colleges, putting them at the forefront of our economic and skills strategy.

Under the SNP, there has been a 37% drop in college admissions since 2007 - that is 140,000 students denied the chance to learn new skills and gain new opportunities.

We can only build the new moral economy if we reward hard work and support people when they need it most.

If we are to create a truly equal society, one rooted in fairness and social justice, then every Scot - young and old - regardless of their background, must get the opportunity, and the support, to flourish.

Finance

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