Scotland split as postcodes determine job prospects
UNEMPLOYMENT has created a divided Scotland, with joblessness in some of the country's most deprived areas soaring while wealthier areas enjoy significantly lower levels.
Figures contained in an annual population survey show that, since the current financial downturn, there has been a dramatic rise in people out of work in Scotland's poorest areas, including Glasgow.
In North Ayrshire, Scotland's worst-affected area, unemployment rocketed to 11.9 per cent - an increase of 5.5 percentage points in the three years covered by the survey. In Glasgow, the jobless rate rose to 11.7 per cent, up 4.8 points.
However, areas such as Orkney had an unemployment rate of only 3.4 per cent, an increase of 0.7 points between 2007 and 2010, which coincided with the height of the economic crisis.
In another prosperous area, Aberdeenshire, 3.7 per cent of the population is unemployed - up 1.2 points over the period covered by the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The figures, which showed a sharp rise in overall unemployment, sparked a warning from a senior MSP about the danger of "a tale of two Scotlands".
There were also tens of thousands of young unemployed, aged 16-19, who were not in any sort of education of training.
The survey showed 36,000 - or 13.7 per cent - of 16-19 year-olds were not in education, employment or training (NEET) - a figure that remained unchanged between 2009 and 2010.
A total of 6.3 per cent of Edinburgh's population was unemployed at the end of 2010, which represented an increase of two points over the three years. In Dundee, unemployment stood at 9.2 per cent - up 2.6 points.
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Labour's finance spokesman, Richard Baker, called on the Scottish Government to invest in key sectors, such as the building industry, to boost job creation in the country, after the figures showed that Scotland's overall unemployment figure had increased from 4.7 per cent in 2007 to 7.7 per cent in 2010.
He said: "There is a danger of long-term unemployment turning into a tale of two Scotlands and of a divided country.
"Scottish Labour has argued for a long time that much more needs to be done to get long-term unemployed back to work, especially in areas it particularly affects like Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire.
"The problem is particularly acute amongst young unemployed. That's why we called for a return of the Future Jobs Fund. And it is also why I want to see the SNP come up with a Plan 'S' for Scotland, with much more emphasis of capital spending that should lead to job creation in the construction sector and their suppliers."
The survey also showed Scotland's levels of economic inactivity, which includes all those who are not in work or claiming unemployment benefit, such as people with long-term illnesses or disabilities.
Scotland's economic inactivity rate rose from 22.5 per cent in 2007 to 23 per cent over the three-year period covered by the survey.
The LFS figures also showed that the percentage of people in work in Scotland fell between 2008 and 2010, with the figure going from 73.5 per cent to 71 per cent. Finance secretary John Swinney called on the UK government to hand increased economic powers to Holyrood to boost job creation north of the Border. He said: "These figures highlight that in 2010 there was a continuing trend of wide variation in employment and unemployment rates across Scotland.
"To tackle areas with the highest levels of unemployment, Skills Development Scotland has realigned its pre-employment programmes to ensure our employability initiatives can respond effectively to local labour markets.
"The UK government has already recognised that it needs to do more to support the recovery, but we need to see some action.
"We have put forward a range of specific policies to help boost growth, such as a cost-effective programme of infrastructure investment to create new jobs and new capital assets which will support growth over the short and long term.
"What Scotland really needs is access to all the key levers of economic growth, such as borrowing powers and corporation tax, to enhance investment and create more jobs."
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