Scottish independence: Yes and No hail jobs rise

MORE Scots are currently in employment than at any point since records began, official figures have shown - prompting both sides in the referendum campaign to claim the upbeat statistics as a boost to their cause.

Employment rose by 45,000 in three months from May to July to stand at 2,623,000 - a rise of 87,000 on the same time last year.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Employment rose by 45,000 in three months from May to July to stand at 2,623,000 - a rise of 87,000 on the same time last year. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Employment rose by 45,000 in three months from May to July to stand at 2,623,000 - a rise of 87,000 on the same time last year.

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 15,000 to 168,000 for the period, according to the report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It also revealed that the unemployment rate dropped to six per cent north of the border - lower than the 6.2 per cent average in the rest of the UK.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander hailed the rising employment total as “a powerful demonstration of how we are better together” while Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney insisted the figures were a “huge vote of economic confidence in Scotland’s future”.

Swinney said: “These figures are a massive boost to the yes campaign as we move into the final day of campaigning.

“They are a huge vote of economic confidence in Scotland’s future and expose the scaremongering of the No campaign. We now have the highest employment on record and unemployment, while still too high, is falling steadily.

He added: “On every headline figure we are outperforming the UK.”

Alexander said: “These very strong numbers show that the United Kingdom is becoming the employment powerhouse of the major economies.

“UK unemployment has seen the largest annual fall on record. The nations of the United Kingdom are recovering together.”

He added: “These numbers, and our strengthening recovery, are a powerful demonstration of how we are better together.”

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown added: “What is undoubtedly clear is how unwise it would be to risk instability by separating from the rest of the UK at this point.

“With the UK economy predicted to grow it is clearly in Scotland’s interest to remain part of the UK so we can share the benefits of the economic recovery.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the figures.

“The news that Scotland’s unemployment level has fallen to just six per cent is very welcome indeed,” she said. “This is proof of the confidence that Scottish businesses have been experiencing and demonstrates the underlying strength of the private sector in Scotland.”

Minutes from the Bank of England’s September Monetary Policy Committee meeting, also released today, showed another split in the interest rate decision, with two of the MPC’s nine members voting for a 25 basis point rise in the Bank Rate. This is the second consecutive month in which the interest rate vote has been split.

SEE ALSO