Unemployment in Scotland rises by 18,000 in three months

There are now 170,000 people out of work in Scotland
There are now 170,000 people out of work in Scotland
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SCOTLAND was the only UK region - apart from the North East of England - to record a rise in those out of work between June and August.

There are now 170,000 people out of work in Scotland, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today.

We also have concerns about the impact of UK cuts on wider business and investor confidence

John Swinney, Deptuy First Minister

The Scottish unemployment rate now sits a 6.1 per cent, compared to the UK figure of 5.4 per cent.

The Scottish Government said the country was performing better than the rest of the UK in terms of overall employment rates, youth employment and female employment.

Scottish Labour said the figures made for “grim reading.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said Scotland needed to build on its strong record of public sector investment in infrastructure projects but that further spending was threatened by Westminster cuts.

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said the figures illustrated “challenges” in accessing the “growing economy.”

Mr Mundell said: “There can be no doubt there is still hard work to undertake to build on the UK Government’s long term economic plan which has tackled a record deficit and laid the foundations for a stronger and more stable economy.

“Across the UK there are now a near record number of vacancies. For individuals and families across Scotland we need to ensure they can see the UK and Scottish Governments working together and doing everything they can to help our businesses grow and ensure everyone who works hard have the opportunities they need to succeed.”

The number of those in work in Scotland has fallen by 6,000 over the quarter, and fell slightly by 1,000 over the year, to stand at 2,610,000.

The number of those claiming benefits in Scotland sat at 71,000 in September, a rise of 500 on the month before.

However, there are 19,600 fewer claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance in Scotland than a year ago - partly due to the rolling out of the Universal Credit system.

Mr Swinney said the figures highlighted the “serious challenges” to economic recovery.

He said: “While Scotland has now seen three years of continuous economic growth, and continues to exceed the UK in the total employment rate and in youth and female employment rates, today’s figures show that there remain serious challenges to economic recovery.

“While we saw the economy grow 1.9 per cent over the year in recent GDP figures, this was driven in part by continued strong infrastructure investment by the Scottish public sector. This investment is threatened by the cuts the UK Government plans to implement to achieve its fiscal mandate. We also have concerns about the impact of UK cuts on wider business and investor confidence.”

He said Scotland’s alternative fiscal plan would create £150bn of extra investment at a UK level - with around £12bn of that for Scotland.

Mr Swinney added that youth employment was nearing “pre-recessionary” levels and that £10m had been recently invested in recruitment incentives to benefit the younger generation.

Scottish Labour Public Services spokesperson Jackie Baillie said Scotland needed “real action, not warm words” on jobs.

She said: “These figures make grim reading for Scotland, and speak to an SNP government with the wrong priorities.

“The increase in unemployment the North East confirms that the SNP Government sat on their hands whilst we saw an oil jobs crisis that saw thousands of jobs lost. This was too important an issue for a Government to ignore because it was politically embarrassing.

“We are seeing fewer jobs under this SNP Government than in 2008, and the gap is growing.

“This SNP Government have been in power for eight years, and are about to have more power than any Scottish Government before them- it’s time to deliver real action on jobs, not just warm words.”