Jobs crisis worsens

Long-term unemployment has risen in Dumfries and Galloway for the 19th consec­utive month. More disturbingly, it has doubled in a year.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that in July this year 895 people in Dumfries and Galloway had been out of work for more than 12 months. This has doubled from 455 in July 2011.

MP Russell Brown said: “For 19 months in a row long-term unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway has increased. That is a shocking indictment of this government’s economic policy.

“The Tory cuts and tax rises have been a disaster. They have caused a double-dip recession, with families and pensioners struggling to pay bills. We are in the midst of a jobs crisis but there is no plan to get our economy growing.”

Peter Jeal, president of Wigtownshire Chamber of Com­merce, added: “While the Chamber recognises the need to cut the national deficit, we also believe there is a need to stimulate demand and one effective way of doing this would be to reduce fuel duty. Fuel price increases not only put pressure on household budgets which impacts on demand for goods and services, they also add extra costs to hard-pressed businesses on whom we rely to create jobs. Research shows there is now no benefit to the Exchequer of increasing fuel duty because of the negative impact on the economy, yet the government appears to remain committed to increasing duty.

“The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that a 2.5p reduction in fuel duty would result in the creation of 175,000 jobs within a year and 180,000 jobs within five years of such a reduction. Such a reduction would not result in any fiscal loss to the Government.”