The latest unemployment figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday show that youth unemployment in the region is still 1.1 per cent above the Scottish average and 1.3 per cent above the UK average, with 785 youngsters aged 18-24 in Dumfries and Galloway out of work.
Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown said “It is to the credit of local businesses, that despite the challenging economic conditions, they are playing their part in creating jobs locally. However, there is still a real crisis in the level of youth unemployment and many of the jobs coming to our area remain low paid. Average weekly earnings are over a £100 pounds less than the UK average and prices have risen faster than wages for 39 out of the 40 months since the Tories came to power. We need to ensure that not only do we see more jobs created in the area, but that we focus on ensuring that the jobs that are created help tackle the cost of living crisis by paying a decent living wage”.
South of Scotland SNP MSP Dr Aileen McLeod said: “We know that in spite of the Scottish Government’s focus on measures to tackle the problem of youth unemployment the rate of youth unemployment in Scotland is still higher than the UK average and is higher still in Dumfries and Galloway. There are signs that the Scottish economy is starting to recover but this is if anything in spite of Westminster’s austerity policies rather than because of them.
“In a Dumfries and Galloway context, I hope that young people can benefit from training and employment opportunities in some of the large developments which will be happening over the next few years such as the Dalbeattie learning campus and construction of the new DGRI.
“Of course as long as economic policy is decided by Westminster we cannot tackle the real cause of the problem, which is the pursuit of the wrong economic policies which are not delivering growth or jobs, particularly for our young people. Next year we have the opportunity to change that with a Yes vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence, which will give Scotland all of the powers we need to boost our economy.”