Labour’s Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray have expressed anger at the lack of action taken to tackle unemployment in the region.
This comes after this week’s figures released by the Office of National Statistics showed an increase in the numbers claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA).
The figures show that the total number of 16-64 year olds claiming JSA in Dumfries and Galloway increased from 2,565 in December(2.8% of working population) to 2695 (2.9% of working population) in January.
Youth unemployment (18 to 24 year olds) also saw an increase from 670 in December (6.1%) to 705 (6.4%) in January. This is 0.9% above the Scottish average and 1.3% above the UK average.
Russell Brown said: “These figures make for grim reading. The UK Government has failed to take any real action to tackle the job crisis that local people are facing. All of their much vaunted schemes have resulted in little improvement in local job figures and it is simply not good enough. I have been working with local businesses and the council, to come up with local solutions. If the Government is not prepared to tackle the issue, it is up to us to come up with local solutions.”
Elaine Murray said: “This SNP Government likes to spend a lot of time talking about independence but they are forgetting about this generation of young people who want to work but find no jobs or training available. In fact the SNP are cutting college places.
“This is not what this region needs. It needs a Government who wants to tackle unemployment, not constitutional issues. This SNP Government is repeating the Tory mistakes of the 1980s and it this generation who is paying for it.”
Leader of the Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “These recent figures show just how much local youngsters desperately need the jobs plan as outlined in our recently passed budget.”
“ We will introduce 400 new job opportunities for local young people as well as increase the number of graduate placements and it is clear this is badly needed While these measures will not solve the job crisis , we will start to tackle the it.”