First Minister Alex Salmond commits to working in partnership with charities at Scotland's third sector Gathering.
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond stressed his party's commitment to partnership with the third sector in an independent Scotland while addressing The Gathering this morning.
Salmond talked of solidarity and praised the strength and value of the voluntary sector in a speech setting out what a Yes vote would mean for Scottish charities.
"The Scottish Government shares not just a partnership but a common cause with the third sector," he told the third sector delegates in attendance.
"To give one example our focus on prevention - that is to say shifting public service investment so we support people before major problems arise - would be impossible without the work of the third sector.
"We want to see inclusion in decision making to involve you in providing a reform of public service but above all to work with you in delivering a fairer and most prosperous country.
"In emphasising that point of common cause I want to argue the fundamental point that the Scottish Government and the third sector, in my estimation, will be even more effective in an independent Scotland."
The First Minister also told the Glasgow audience an additional £4 million was being made available to fund an additional 1,200 posts for Community Jobs Scotland (CJS).
The partnership between the Scottish Government and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) creates work opportunities for young unemployed people within third sector organisations, and has been heralded for helping far more young people find long-term jobs than other UK government schemes, such as the Work Programme.
Of the additional jobs, Salmond said 100 would be specifically for disabled people and 200 would be part of a pilot programme for young people with a "troubled background".
"Community Job Scotland is a genuine job opportunity for at least six months with training, support and guidance," he added.
"The importance of community jobs fund delivers opportunities through partnership, which is a shared social investment that benefits society and our economy for many decades to come."
Salmond went on to argue that the negative impact of UK government welfare reforms can only be mitigated under independence. He criticised recent comments made by Prime Minister David Cameron that cutting benefits was part of a "moral mission".
The First Minister highlighted child care as being another example of good social investment, claiming that in an independent Scotland 50% of children aged two or over would have access to free childcare.
"The third sector is crucial on developing our policies on childcare," he added, "and will be crucial, of course, delivering these policies."
Salmond added the third sector would play an important part in creating a new inclusive constitution for an independent Scotland.
Alex Salmond and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations chief executive Martin Sime meet members of Drumatik at the Gathering 2014 exhibition