Galloway MP Russell Brown has accused the UK and Scottish governments of continuing to treat Dumfries and Galloway as a “forgotten region” following new jobs figures that show unemployment in the area is continuing to increase, with local youth unemployment now reaching almost 10 per cent.
The latest statistics published on Wednesday by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the Jobseeker’s Claimant count in Dumfries and Galloway increased by 75 from 3485 to 3560 – the fourth month in a row unemployment has risen in the region.
The figures also show that the rate of youth unemployment across Dumfries and Galloway local authority area rose again last month from 1015 to 1080 – increasing the region’s youth unemployment rate to from 9.2 per cent to 9.8 per cent compared to a UK average of 7.2 per cent and a Scottish average of 7.7 per cent.
Mr Brown said: “Dumfries and Galloway is caught between both UK and Scottish governments with the wrong priorities. The Tory-led UK government is cutting too far and too fast, and the SNP Scottish government is too distracted by its obsession with independence. For the fourth month running, unemployment in our region has increased and youth unemployment has rocketed to almost 10%.
“In the past week we have heard about up to 17 more job losses at the creamery in Stranraer and 19 posts are set to go at Penman engineering in Dumfries, so it is clear the jobs outlook in our region is going to get worse. Behind every single one of these figures is someone desperate to get into work and a local family struggling to pay the bills. We need to see action to kickstart our economy and get people back to work.”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson added: “It is truly dreadful that unemployment figures in Dumfries and Galloway continue to worsen while they are beginning to improve in the rest of the UK and Scotland, and both our governments have serious roles to play in trying to reverse that trend. Clearly, the Chancellor’s budget has sought to address some of the issues that continue to beset the economy, and I am delighted it has been welcomed by a number of organisations, such as the Scottish Chamber of Commerce. Now the Scottish government has to play its part.
“However, the hypocrisy of local Labour politicians in this debate is almost unbelievable – after, all it was a Labour Treasury Minister who left a note for his successor after the last election saying ‘Good luck –there’s no money left’.”