By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, has called for urgent attention to be given to tackling youth unemployment. This follows statistics which show youth unemployment rocketing in both West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute, amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that youth unemployment in West Dunbartonshire increased by 64.3% between February and May and by an astonishing 127.5% in Argyll and Bute.
Jackie Baillie has previously called for long term support to be given to those who find themselves unemployed and unable to seek work due to the Covid-19 crisis. She has urged the Scottish Government to introduce a Job Guarantee Scheme and to provide support beyond the current Job Retention Scheme period.
Young people in West Dunbartonshire will find it hard to get jobs in tourism and hospitality.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “These youth unemployment stats show the sad reality of the effect that Covid-19 has had on our young workforce.
“Young people across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute are in desperate need of long term support to help get them back into employment. Lots of young people in our community work in the hospitality and tourism sectors – both of which are really struggling to survive.
“It is vital that the Scottish Government provide long term and sector-specific support so that young people who are just starting out in their careers do not end up out of work for the foreseeable future.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie has raised concerns that the current economic crisis created by Covid-19 will see job losses in all age groups increase in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll.
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 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.”