Commenting on today’s labour market statistics which show rising economic inactivity, falling employment and increasing unemployment, Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said

“It is now clearer than ever that there are significant challenges facing Scotland’s economy.

“Unemployment has increased over the past quarter, with 139,000 people now out of work and seeking a job. Over the same period, unemployment in the UK fell by 52,000.

“Scotland also had the largest increase in economic inactivity over the past year of any nation or region in the UK. This is extremely concerning and it is time that serious work is undertaken to get to grips with the underlying causes. 

“That is why Labour wants the SNP government to commission a study into economic inactivity in Scotland. It is the single biggest challenge facing our labour market, but Nationalist ministers would prefer to ignore it.

“Meanwhile, economic growth in Scotland continues to lag behind the UK average, an established trend which shows no sign of reversing.  

“Labour will amend the SNP’s Budget to stop the cuts and invest in our public services. If Nationalist ministers are serious about addressing the fundamental challenges facing Scotland, they will back our amendments and ditch plans to cut £327 million from local authority budgets and slash the budget of Scottish Enterprise by a third.”<

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