‘Four unemployed Scots are competing for every job’

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An AVERAGE of four unemployed people are competing for every job in Scotland, new research shows, with up to 20 chasing each vacancy in other parts of Britain.

At least ten people were competing for every unfilled vacancy in East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire, the survey from public-sector union Unison found.

West Dunbartonshire was the toughest Scottish region for finding employment, with more than 12 jobseekers answering every advertisement.

Unison said the findings highlight the scale of the ongoing jobs “crisis” which it blamed on restrictive austerity measures brought in by ministers north and south of the Border.

Ministers said the study failed to mention falling unemployment levels and growing private sector jobs.

However, the union said half a million public sector jobs had been lost since the coalition came to power, including some 60,000 in Scotland.

Unison Scottish secretary Mike Kirby said: “We need a bold strategy for jobs and growth. Make people feel secure in their jobs and they are more likely to spend. If you give public sector workers a decent pay rise, more money will flow through tills in local shops and businesses, helping our beleaguered high streets and communities.”

The study found that there were 26 local authority areas in the UK where ten or more jobseekers allowance claimants competed for each unfilled vacancy.

London was found to be one of the worst regions, with more than ten applicants per post in a third of the capital’s 32 boroughs.

The Scottish Government said it was “doing all it can” to create jobs, including investing £10 billion in capital projects such as housebuilding and funding rates relief worth more than £500 million annually to support the economy.

Last month, figures showed that vacancies in the UK had risen by four per cent to almost half a million over the past six months.

Defending its policies against Unison’s findings, a UK Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “With 500,000 vacancies last quarter there are jobs out there, but we’re not complacent and Jobcentre Plus is working hard to make sure jobseekers have the right skills and experience to get into work.”