Unemployment on the rise in Galloway

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Galloway MP Russell Brown has government of failing the region’s young people after the latest jobs figures were announced.

Mr Brown accused both the Scottish and UK Government of failing youg people after the figures revealed that unemployment, in particular amongst young people, has increased in the region.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimant count for young people aged 18-24 increased from 395 (3.6%) in December 2014 to 440 (4%) in January 2015.

This is higher that the Scottish average of 3.7% and significantly higher than the UK average of 3.1%.

Overall, the JSA claimant count in the region rose by 160 in the last month from 1,689 (1.9%) in December 2014 to 1,849 (2.0%) in January 2015.

Russell Brown said: “The Scottish and UK Government are failing to deliver solutions to tackle unemployment in Dumfries & Galloway, in particular for young people.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that we continue to see higher than average youth unemployment levels in this region, and yet both the SNP and Tories are nowhere to be seen when it comes to finding solutions.”

The number of people in employment in Scotland as a whole reached a record high of 2,625,000, according to the ONS figures covering the period October – December 2014.

These figures also show the level of unemployment fell by 15,000 over the quarter and has now reached below 150,000 for the first time since 2009.

The figures from Scotland as a whole show a sharp contrast to the figures for Galloway. In Scotland youth unemployment fell to its lowest level and rate in five years, whilst youth employment increased over the year.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Today’s figures are hugely encouraging and demonstrate a robust, more inclusive and active Scottish workforce supporting our economy which in itself is going from strength to strength. We must remain absolutely focused on continuing to deliver those better economic prospects and vigilant about challenges within different sectors of the economy.

“Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three headline labour market indicators with employment continuing to increase and unemployment down. We have moved up two places in European youth unemployment rate comparisons at a time when we strive to create not just more, but better, jobs for those living in Scotland.

“Unemployment is now back to levels not seen since 2009 as the Scottish economy continues to recover.

“Female employment and participation are both at a record high, and above UK rates. The gap between male and female employment rates in Scotland has shrunk to a record low of 4.0 percentage points – compared to 9.5 percentage points in the UK. Not only is the employment rate in Scotland higher, we are also seeing more women in employment.

“This clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government can do much to secure economic growth, tackle inequality and protect public services within the limited powers we have, but we want to – and can – do more.

“UK Government proposals for the devolution of support to the unemployed fall well short of what was promised, hampering efforts to address joblessness by devolving only a section of the current support network and leaving important levers to support people as soon as they become unemployed in the hands of UK ministers.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders to ensure these proposals are improved for Scotland and that they reflect the views of ordinary people.

“I strongly believe the public sector should lead by example and take forward the recruitment and training of young people by engaging with the education system to provide development opportunities for young people. Organisations such as Scottish Enterprise who are achieving the status of Investors in Young People set a good example.”