Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has raised concerns that the current economic crisis created by Covid-19 will see job losses increase in West Dunbartonshire.
This follows a report published by the Resolution Foundation. The report underlines the potential for the Covid-19 crisis to greatly exacerbate already existing inequalities in household wealth, particularly between those who can work from home and those employed in ‘shut down’ industries.
West Dunbartonshire already had significant levels of unemployment pre-Covid-19 with its 2019 unemployment figures being higher than both the Scottish and UK unemployment averages.
West Dunbartonshire has also 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 second only 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:
“This report highlights 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.”