SNP and Greens welcome record rise in employment in Scotland


The SNP and the Scottish Greens have welcomed a record rise in employment at the same time as the number of people out of work has continued to fall in Scotland.

It was announced on Wednesday that employment in Scotland increased by 54,000 over the period January to March – the largest quarterly rise since 1992 when the figures began.

While the number of people out of work across the UK continued to rise, figures showed that in Scotland there was a drop of 7,000 in the unemployment total over the period January to March. Between January and March this year unemployment fell to 199,000.

Meanwhile total UK unemployment has risen to 2.52 million, an increase of 17,000 over the same period.  UK Employment Minister, the Conservative MP Mark Hoban, described the figures as “disappointing”.

David Kern, the chief economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, said rising unemployment underlined the need for the government to “develop a stronger growth strategy”, echoing a call which has been repeatedly made by the Scottish Government.

John Mason MSP, Deputy Convener of the Finance Committee, said:

“These record figures are show that Scotland has higher employment and lower unemployment than the rest of the UK. These stronger employment statistics in Scotland are no accident and are testament to the wide range of measures the SNP Government has put in place to create and secure jobs.

“To achieve the largest increase in Scottish employment since these form of records began in 1992 is a fantastic sign of progress and is the clearest possible signal that the steps we are taking to secure economic recovery are having a real and positive impact.

“The progress that has been achieved in Scotland shows why it is right that we are setting our own course for recovery with the limited powers the Scottish Parliament currently holds.

“Yet with the powers of an independent Scotland we could do even more to boost our economy and get more people into jobs. Only a Yes vote in next September’s referendum will give us the economic and fiscal powers we need to build the fairer, more prosperous nation that we all want to live in.”

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, welcomed the latest jobs figures but called for more action on underemployment and zero-hours contracts.

Ms Johnstone said:

“While the headline figures are welcome we must not lose sight of the underlying problem of underemployment. There are still too many people who want to work more hours but the work isn’t available.

“We must also crack down on so-called zero hours contracts, which mask the fact that some people in employment have no idea how much money they’ll get in their pay packet. I continue to urge the Scottish Government to look at barring companies who use these contracts from getting public money.”