THE rate of unemployment in Scotland has now surpassed the UK average and is set to remain that way for an “extended period”, as a result of a major squeeze in public-sector spending, experts have said.
Official ﬁgures, published yesterday, revealed that the Scottish jobless total soared to 8.1 per cent, compared with a UK-wide ﬁgure of 7.8 per cent. It is the ﬁrst time in four years that joblessness north of the Border has exceeded the UK average. The labour-market statistics showed there are now 216,000 unemployed people in Scotland, up by 8,000 during the period from March to May this year.
Unemployment ﬁgures, including those who are out of work but not eligible for beneﬁts, across the UK fell by 34,000 to 2.47 million during the same period.
In recent years, Scotland has been cushioned by a large public sector, which is always slower at shedding staff during hard times.