Scottish unemployment shows slight increase but again the UK is worse


By G.A.Ponsonby
Scotland’s employment rate has outperformed the UK for the twelfth consecutive month despite unemployment increasing slightly, according to official figures.
Statistics for July-September showed that Scotland recorded a 5000 increase in unemployment against a figure of 129,000 for the whole of the UK.

In percentage terms, the UK’s unemployment rate increase was 33% higher than Scotland’s with official records showing 0.4% and 0.3% increases respectively.  The UK’s unemployment rate now stands at 8.3% (from 7.9%) against Scotland’s 8.0% (from 7.7%).

For the UK as a whole, unemployment levels are now at their highest for seventeen years. In Scotland, unemployment levels are 22,000 lower than the recession peak in May-June 2010.

Over the year, Scottish employment rose by 14,000, compared to a fall of 109,000 across the UK.  Scotland is the only part of the UK with more people in work than were employed 12 months ago.

The new figures received a cautious welcome from SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie who said that although it was encouraging that Scotland remained the best performing part of the UK there was always more to do.

Mr Hosie highlighted the Scottish government’s new schemes that included 25,000 apprenticeships a year along with guaranteed training or learning for all 16-19 year olds.  The SNP MP also took aim at the UK government and dismissed their claims that the Euro-zone was to blame for the UK’s economic woes.

He said:

“We cannot be complacent about the situation we are in and everyone should work together to seek opportunities for jobs and investment in the Scottish economy.  That is why it is encouraging to see companies choosing to invest in Scotland.

“What is utterly ridiculous is for the UK Government, who control the key levers of growth, to continue to stick their heads in the sand and blame the Euro-zone for the UK’s economic and employment problems. 

“These problems were building up across the UK well before the Euro-zone crisis and the sooner George Osborne takes responsibility and introduces a serious programme of infrastructure investment and job creation the better for the whole economy.”

Labour responded to the figures by calling on the SNP to come up with a plan.

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Margaret Curran MP said:

“Scotland is now in the grip of an unemployment crisis, with soaring numbers out of work and on the dole.  These are deeply concerning figures because behind every statistic is a person suffering the indignity of unemployment and a family coping with losing their income.

“The Scottish economy desperately needs growth and we need a plan from the SNP that actually gets results.

“Labour has published a clear five point plan for jobs and growth that both governments must implement urgently. Scotland is now stuck between a Tory government cutting too fast and an SNP government whose economic policy simply isn’t working.”

The claimant count in Scotland fell by 900 in October – the second consecutive monthly decline in Scottish claimant count levels – compared to a UK-wide increase of 5,300.

The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working to secure new jobs and investment to Scotland. This morning Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing visited the Inchinnan headquarters of growing business technology firm Amor Group, as they announce plans to create new jobs.