Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:10 UK

Scottish unemployment on the rise

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The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance rose by 3,100

Unemployment in Scotland rose to 4.7% in the last quarter, the latest official figures have shown.

The number of unemployed people increased by 19,000 between June and August, to 124,000.

The Labour Force Survey showed there were 10,000 fewer people in work, compared with the same period in 2007.

Jobseekers Allowance claimants rose by 3,100 in September, to 81,800. The number of people in employment within the three-month period was 2,538,000.

The Scottish unemployment rate rose by 0.7% over the quarter, to 4.7%, which is below the UK average joblessness rate of 5.7%.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the "disappointing" statistics showed how quickly financial shocks could have an impact on the real economy.

"Within our fixed budget the Scottish Government has already announced a package of measures, including accelerated investment in affordable housing, and the economic cabinet identified a six-point programme to help business and hard-pressed households," he said.

These figures clearly indicate that Scotland is not immune to any global economic downturn
Stephen Boyd
STUC

"We also need a programme of reflation from the UK Government to boost the wider economy.

"That needs to include a relaxation of Treasury rules so that we can access Scottish resources, such as the Fossil Fuel Levy and our own underspend, for investment in economic activity now."

Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: "Every country in the world is facing real economic challenges.

"The UK has one of the most robust labour markets in the world and the support network of Jobcentre Plus is there to provide assistance to those who may fall out of work.

"Our priority must be to help people back into sustainable employment quickly and we will use every method at our disposal to make that happen."

Across the UK, the number of unemployed people rose by more than 150,000 between June to August, according to the figures from the Office of National Statistics.

'Threat of recession'

Iain Ferguson, CBI Scotland's policy executive, said: "What is concerning is that the figures pre-date much of the recent turbulence within the financial sector, indicating unemployment is likely to rise further through the winter.

"Scotland was never going to be immune from the knock-on impact.

"However, what will help is the flexible Scottish labour market and continued moderation in pay settlements."

Scottish Trades Union Congress assistant secretary Stephen Boyd said: "These figures clearly indicate that Scotland is not immune to any global economic downturn as some commentators have been suggesting.

"The threat of recession looms and we look forward to at least another point cut in interest rates in November."

He called on the governments at Holyrood and Westminster to provide more funding and resources to support people who have been made unemployed.

"A review of the job cuts and privatisation of services in the Department of Work and Pensions is a priority," he added.




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