Worrying news on unemployment

FIGURES released last week revealed the disturbing news that long term unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway has risen by 53 per cent.

Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown called the situation “a tragedy for hundreds of local families who face at least their second Christmas with someone on the dole.”

The figures, released by the TUC, show that long term unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway has risen by 53 per cent in the last year. It has risen by 200, from 375 in November 2010 to 575 in November 2011. This increase is the 26th highest out of the 231 local authority areas in the UK – which means that Dumfries and Galloway is among the worst 10% of areas in the whole country for rising long-term unemployment.

Mr Brown said: “These alarming figures confirm what local people are all too aware of – Dumfries and Galloway is in the grip of an unemployment crisis. Over 500 local people have been looking for work for over a year, up 53% in the last 12 months. It is a tragedy for hundreds of local families who face at least their second Christmas with someone on the dole. They have faced a tough year and it is a bitter blow that with more cuts on the way, the New Year offers little in the way of optimism. I am particularly concerned about long-term youth unemployment, because an entire generation is being thrown on the scrapheap before they even get started in life. Tory and SNP cuts are throwing people out of work and the Tory government’s tax hikes have snuffed out the economy recovery. Not only is it traumatic for each family affected, but it is economic madness to have more people on the dole. The Tory-led Government’s job cuts and tax hikes mean our economy is flatlining and we won’t solve this problem while they continue to throw people out of work.”

Peter Jeal, the President of the Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce added: “These latest figures are of significant concern.

“The Chamber has been lobbying the UK Government not to add any more taxation on petrol as continuing increases do nothing to help economic recovery, they simply hinder it.

“Fuel price increases hit everyone from families with stagnant or falling incomes to businesses faced with falling sales and higher costs. Higher fuel costs also mean higher prices for food and other essentials adding even more pressure on families.

“The problem is worse in places like Galloway because people often have no alternative to car travel.

“In addition to a freeze of further fuel taxation, we would like to see far more done to encourage growth, especially for small businesses which are the backbone the economy.”