Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has called for urgent action on future job security and economic recovery. This follows figures released today by the Office of National Statistics which show that Scotland has the highest rate of unemployment in the UK. The unemployment rate for over 16s in Scotland has reached 4.6% compared to 3.9% in England.
In Scotland, between February and April, unemployment in Scotland rose by 30,000 people to 127,000. Economic analysists have said that these figures could, in part, be explained by Scotland’s reliance on the tourism industry for job creation and revenue. Since the beginning of lockdown, Jackie Baillie has worked with the Scottish Government and local tourism sector businesses in her constituency to ensure that there is tourism-specific support to avoid large scale unemployment and the permanent closure of many companies. The closure of such businesses would have devastating consequence for the local and national economies.
West Dunbartonshire has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 related unemployment. Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions show that unemployment in the area rose from 2885 in March 2020 to 4440 in April 2020. West Dunbartonshire’s figure of 7.8% unemployment is only second to North Ayrshire’s 7.9% unemployment in terms of the highest rates of unemployment in Scotland.
Jackie Baillie has consistently called for support to be given to those who have found themselves unemployed or unable to seek work during the crisis and has urged the Scottish Government to lay out plans for how to support employees beyond the current Job Retention Scheme period.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“These figures highlight the urgent need for a robust and long term industrial strategy. Our economy is in an unprecedented crisis and unemployment figures are growing exponentially.
“Workers in West Dunbartonshire, and across the country, have suddenly found themselves out of work and have no idea if or when they will be able to find work again.
“The financial aid from both the Scottish and UK Government for those who find themselves unemployed and furloughed has been a help but it is vital that this support is developed and extended.
“The current crisis in the job market is not going to end anytime soon and workers cannot be allowed to suffer because of a situation that is completely out with their control.”