By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that the increasing unemployment figures highlight the need for a secure jobs guarantee.
This follows new figures released from the Office of National Statistics which show that one in three 18-24 year olds are now economically inactive and that female unemployment has risen by over 50% since last year.
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.
Unemployment is also a threat in the neighbouring local authority of Argyll and Bute. Youth unemployment in Argyll and Bute grew by an astonishing 127.5% between February and May.
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: “The further rise in unemployment today confirms that Scotland is on the brink of a devastating unemployment crisis.
“Unless a quality Jobs Guarantee Scheme is in place before the furlough scheme ends, we will see mass unemployment on a scale not seen for generations, and a lost generation of workers who will feel the consequences for the rest of their lives.
“Workers in West Dunbartonshire, Argyll & Bute 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.”
No SNP politician would comment. The MPs, Martin Docherty Hughes and Brendan O’Hara and Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration at West Dunbartonshire Council, are part of a boycott of The Democrat.
However, commenting on today’s figures showing that unemployment in Scotland rose to 4.3% between March and May, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:
“With unemployment rising and almost 900,000 people in Scotland relying on the various coronavirus support schemes, it’s clear that vast numbers of families are facing an uncertain financial future.
“The Scottish Government need to urgently kick off talks with their UK Government colleagues about extending the furlough scheme and introducing a universal basic income so that everyone is able to heat their homes and put food on the table.
“There will be more disheartening figures to come unless they act now.”