By Democrat reporter

The £100m of Scottish Government funding for employment support programmes is ‘lightweight’, according to Jackie Baillie, the Dumbarton MSP.

She described the money today as “a drop in the ocean when faced with the tsunami of unemployment coming at the end of the furlough scheme”.

In response to a Parliamentary Question lodged by Jackie Baillie MSP, the SNP Business Minister, Jamie Hepburn, stated that the Scottish Government would provide the additional £100 million of funding for existing employment support programmes in this financial year.

With up to 350,000 jobs at risk at the end of the furlough scheme and the new tier system of lockdown restrictions set to continue to damage businesses through the winter, Jackie Baillie wants more.

She has requested the Scottish Government to increase the funds available for employment support “to avoid a tsunami of unemployment”.

Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond said:  “While I welcome the £100 million put aside for employment support, it is clear that this is lightweight compared to what we will need to prevent a tsunami of joblessness. 

“Between August 2019 and August 2020 the level of those claiming unemployment benefits rose in West Dunbartonshire from 2,730 to 4,908 that’s a rise of 2,178 people.

“In Argyll & Bute it rose from 1,405 to 3,221, that’s a rise of 1,816. Unemployment in West Dunbartonshire is sitting at 4.3% and in Argyll and Bute it is 2.6%.

“It is clear that Scotland’s economy is in crisis. We cannot afford to risk the livelihoods of thousands of workers with half measures and penny pinching.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to consider using some of the £1.2bn of unallocated Barnett consequentials to stem this rising tide in unemployment.

“It is time for the Scottish Government and UK Government to work together to ensure that employment support measures are funded properly.

“We cannot gamble with the futures of thousands of Scots in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute . The time has come for bold and decisive action from the Scottish Government.”

  • Aerial picture by Craig Jump of United Turkey Red Media, Strathleven House, Dumbarton.

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