Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 16:14 UK

Cabinet gathers for Scots meeting

Gordon Brown's first Cabinet
The UK cabinet meeting will be the first in Scotland since 1921

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has brought his cabinet to Glasgow for its first meeting in Scotland for almost 90 years, with a focus on the economy.

He declared next week's Budget would be about jobs, as he took questions from an invited audience at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Meanwhile, protesters, angered at proposed school closures in the city staged a demonstration outside.

The cabinet event was the latest in a series being held across the UK.

Speaking to an audience of almost 300 people, drawn from a cross-section of Scottish life, the prime minister said the government was working to support jobs, help school leavers and assist graduates get the employment or training they need.

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Footage of the last time the cabinet met in Scotland

"I know there are many people afraid that unemployment is going to hit them, I know many people are worried someone close to them may lose their job," he said.

"Next week's Budget will be a Budget about jobs.

"We will want to help people who are unemployed back into jobs, we will want to give people the skills for the future so they can get the jobs of the future."

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said he was urging his colleagues to do more to stress the "substantial role" of the UK Government in Scotland.

"Despite the global downturn, we should be confident about the future," he said, adding: "Scotland has a strong economic base for growth in the key industries of financial services, high-skill engineering, energy - from clean coal to tidal, tourism and quality food and drink."

'Capital spending'

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who attended a dinner with Mr Brown on Wednesday evening, had called for the cabinet meeting to be held jointly by Scottish and UK ministers, a suggestion which was dismissed by the Scotland Office.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said the Scottish and UK Governments had shown they could work well together to help families and business during tough economic times.

But the £500m cut in the Scottish budget as a result of Westminster efficiency savings needed to be reversed so Scotland could make its contribution towards economic recovery, said the spokesman, who also reiterated the call for borrowing powers to be devolved to Holyrood.

"We demonstrated that in the way we co-operated to accelerate capital spending, and the Scottish Government's six-point plan is supporting some 5,800 jobs in Scotland," said the spokesman.

The cabinet last met in Scotland in 1921 - when Winston Churchill was the Colonial Secretary and a Liberal MP for Dundee.

The meeting was held in the council chamber at Inverness Town House because Prime Minister Lloyd George was on holiday in the Highlands.

On the agenda was the Irish emergency, unemployment and Armenian refugees.



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