Scotland’s claimant count falls for fifth month in a row

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The number of Scots claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance has fallen for the fifth consecutive month.  Figures released by The Scottish government show that, for May/June, the total number of people claiming the benefit fell by 600 to 133,200, giving a claimant count rate of 4.8%

The figures also showed that during the three months to May, Scotland’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1%.


The number of Scots claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance has fallen for the fifth consecutive month.  Figures released by The Scottish government show that, for May/June, the total number of people claiming the benefit fell by 600 to 133,200, giving a claimant count rate of 4.8%

The figures also showed that during the three months to May, Scotland’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1%.

The Finance Secretary John Swinney said that the figures demonstrated the legacy of the previous Labour Government’s handling of the public finances.  Mr Swinney also highlighted the dangers of the new coalition’s cuts, which he said were “too deep, too quick.”

Ahead of a visit to Scottish and Southern Energy’s new £5 million training centre in Perth, Mr Swinney said:

“Scotland is continuing to see fragile signs of recovery. Today’s figures highlight a fifth consecutive monthly fall in the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance, and our unemployment rate remains below many other parts of the UK such as London, Wales, the North East of England, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

“Both the Purchasing Managers Index survey for June and Scottish Engineering review for the second quarter of the year showed rises in the number of firms reporting increases in employment. And the Lloyds TSB Business Monitor Report highlighted a rise in the number of businesses that reported an increase in exports during the second quarter.

“But today’s figures again demonstrate that recovery is in its early stages – which is why the UK Government is wrong to risk jobs and recovery through spending cuts that are too quick and too deep, and come on top of those already imposed on Scotland by the previous Westminster administration.

Mr Swinney defended the Scottish Government’s decision to defer further cuts until next year and argued that the economy needed to be nurtured.  Mr Swinney pointed to £5 million investment in training as evidence of the action the SNP are taking in order to support jobs.

Mr Swinney added:

“These figures show the Scottish Government was right to defer further Westminster cuts to next year in order to support recovery and maintain employment now. The statistics also demonstrate the importance of the comprehensive action we are taking to support recovery, prioritise frontline services and creating and protecting jobs through the implementation of our Economic Recovery Plan, which is directly supporting up to 15,000 jobs.

“Today I am in Perth to support Scottish and Southern Energy’s five million pounds investment in skills development and training – which reflects the Scottish Government’s own priority in supporting jobs and skills, particularly in the energy sector, where there is massive potential for sustainable economic growth.

“The challenges of cuts imposed by Westminster underline the case for financial responsibility for Scotland, so that we can make our own decisions and use our own powers over taxation, spending and other key economic levers in order to grow the Scottish economy and support jobs.”

The Scottish Secretary of State Michael Moore said the figures showed the “scale of the challenge we face in getting the economy back to health”.

He added: “These figures show the real human cost of the economic legacy the government has inherited.

The claimant count rate of 4.8 per cent in Scotland was the sixth lowest of the 12 UK nations and regions. The following UK regions and nations had a higher claimant count rate than Scotland: North East (6.6 per cent); North West (5.1 per cent); Yorkshire and the Humber (5.4 per cent); West Midlands (5.8 per cent); Wales (5.0 per cent) and Northern Ireland (6.3 per cent).

The unemployment rate of 8.1 per cent is 0.3% higher than the UK average.  It was however the sixth lowest of the 12 UK nations and regions. The following UK regions and nations had a higher unemployment rate than Scotland: North East (9.4 per cent); North West (8.3 per cent); Yorkshire and the Humber (9.1 per cent); West Midlands (8.6 per cent); London (9.3 per cent) and Wales (9.1 per cent).

Analysis by the International Monetary Fund shows that among the G7, the UK is providing the lowest level of discretionary fiscal stimulus in 2010 – equivalent to 0.2 per cent of GDP.

Across the advanced G20 countries, the discretionary fiscal stimulus packages represent, on average, 2.0 per cent of GDP in 2010.

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