Brexit blamed for Scotland having worst employment statistics in the UK

Employment in Scotland has dropped further than any other part of the UK, official statistics indicate.

Only 74.3 per cent of Scots are in work compared with 75.9 per cent across the UK as a whole. Picture: TSPL

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of people in employment in Scotland this year fell by 1.4 per cent in the three months to August, compared with the previous quarter.

The publication suggests 2.63 million people across Scotland were in employment between June and August, a drop of 39,000 from the three months before.

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The drop was the highest of any region in Britain, just ahead of Wales, which saw a 1.1 per cent reduction. Some areas, such as the south-east of England and Yorkshire, saw their jobs figures increase.

During the same period, the rise in unemployment in Scotland also outpaced other areas of the UK, going up by 0.8 per cent.

The statistics suggest 112,000 people were unemployed during the period, 20,000 more than between March and May.

The shift in job numbers now sees Scotland fall well below the UK average, with 74.3 per cent in work, compared with 75.9 per cent across the UK as a whole.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn claims uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the European Union is the main driver behind the drop in employment.

He said: “Brexit is having an increasingly negative impact on Scotland’s economy and labour market, and that is demonstrated by these figures.

“There are some things the Scottish Government cannot mitigate. But within the limit of our powers we are working as hard as possible to prevent damage to Scotland’s jobs, businesses and economy being inflicted by a UK government-led Brexit.

“We will continue working to create the right economic conditions for employment, such as our ‘Prepare for Brexit’ campaign – helping build resilience through grants which support businesses to have response plans in place.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I urge the Scottish Government to work with us to boost the Scottish economy and create jobs, making sure we are ready to enjoy a prosperous future once we leave the EU on 31 October.”

Dr Stuart McIntyre, of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “While it’s important not to get too carried away with one set of numbers, the fact that unemployment has been rising in Scotland, and employment falling, over the past year while the reverse has been happening in the UK as a whole, is a cause for concern.”