Local politicians have voiced their serious concerns about growing unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway.
Figures released on Wednesday by the Office of National Statistics show that the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants in Dumfries and Galloway constituency have increased by 39 in a month and up by over 300 so far this year.
Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “This surge in unemployment is deeply worrying and shows Dumfries and Galloway is being hit hardest by the Tory-led Government’s cuts. Their slash and burn approach to our economy is throwing hundreds of local people on the scrapheap.
“These figures make the scale of the problem in our area clear, with over 300 more local people now out looking for work than at the start of the year. Behind each of these figures lies a local family that is really struggling to pay the bills and worrying about the future. The collapse of construction firm R&D meant the loss of over 200 jobs and they probably haven’t fully worked their way into the figures yet, so the actual picture is likely even bleaker.
“Rather than help local families, the Tory Government has cruelly slashed programmes like the Future Jobs Fund that got people back into work.
“The VAT hike and soaring prices at the shops and at the petrol pump are making things even harder at the worst possible time. People want to know that the Government is taking action to stop unemployment rising even higher.”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I am astonished at Labour’s capacity to deny any responsibility for the problems the country is in. Ranting and raving doesn’t do any good. We need to find positive ways to get out of the recession.
“Any increase in employment in Dumfries and Galloway is bad news especially as unemployment figures in the rest of Scotland have fallen. That is why my priority is the regeneration of the economy in the area.
“We must do everything we can, not just me, but the council as well, to get people to come here and set up businesses, in the private sector, that create jobs.”