Jobs crisis worsens

UNEMPLOYMENT in Dumfries and Galloway remains at crisis levels, said an MP in the same week that figures show it is falling elsewhere in Scotland.

New figures released on Wednesday show the total number of people claiming out of work benefits in the region rose slightly from 3205 to 3209 between October and November. This contrasts with the picture across Scotland as a whole where the number of people unemployed has fallen.

Youth unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway remains high, with 8.5% of 18-24-year-olds out of work compared to a Scottish average of 7.2 precent and UK average of 7.0 percent.

Reacting to the figures, Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “Month after month when these figures are released we see that our region is facing a jobs crisis. Both the Scottish and UK governments are ignoring the problems we face in Dumfries and Galloway. The number of people out of work in our region is rising even though across the country it has fallen. And our youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, with 8.5% of 18-24 year olds out of work compared to a Scottish average of 7.2% and UK average of 7.0%. We clearly have a particular set of employment problems in Dumfries and Galloway, especially among young people, that isn’t been tackled.

“Behind every single one of these figures is someone desperate to get a job, and a family struggling to pay the bills. What makes it even worse is the UK government is raising taxes on the poorest while giving a tax cut to millionaires.

“What we need is a plan to grow our economy and improve our region’s infrastructure, such as broadband, so we see real investment in bringing new jobs to Dumfries and Galloway. It needs to happen right now because we cannot afford to wait.”