By Lucy Ashton

It’s a Top Ten no one wants to be in. Nearly one in five local households are workless.

The Office for National Statistics figures published this week show that West Dunbartonshire  and Argyll and Bute have many thousands of houses, which don’t have a working adult in the family.

However, it is concerning that both regions they are amongst the areas with the highest percentage of workless households in the UK for 2022,  according to the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The days of the really large local employers on West Dunbartonshire from Singer and John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank are long since past.

When people had jobs and plenty of them – Ballantine’s distillery, Strathleven Bond, John Brown’s shipyard and the Singer sewing machine factory. Above: The Esso tank farm at Bowling.

And Dumbarton’s Scotch Whisky industry which gave work to around 3,000 people between Allied Distillers and Strathleven Bonded Warehouses has crept away to other parts of the country.

Now West Dunbartonshire is pinning its hopes – and local taxpayers’ money – on a new industrial estate at the old Esso tank farm on the banks of the River Clyde at Bowling, where they have promised to invest £millions of local money on a land reclamation project which involves removing serious oil pollution.

The workless homes stats for Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire aren’t great, but better than the ten named  local authorities with the worst figures.
The local figures are:
West Dunbartonshire: 5,000 workless households (17.2%)
Argyll & Bute: 4,000 workless households (18.6%) 

LibDem economy spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP, pictured right, said:  “These figures paint a picture of sluggish local economies and a lack of good jobs. That’s especially tragic when the cost-of-living crisis means that many of these households will also be facing rising costs.

“Despite having had 16 years to make progress, the SNP have instead let our skills and educational sectors fall down the international rankings. Businesses that I speak to are worried about rising costs, the steady creep of Scottish Government regulation and the hopeless handling of major projects like the deposit return scheme.

“What’s even worse is that the nationalist separation agenda threatens investment and puts up fresh barriers to Scottish businesses flourishing. The First Minister has promised a reset with business but that needs to be more than warm words.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats would end more than a decade of depressed economic performance. We would invest in education and small business and harness our relationship with the rest of the UK to make Scotland a highly skilled country with first-class economic potential. That’s how to help out of work households get back on their feet again.”

You can find the statistics here

  • For all analysis in the statistics, a household is defined as containing at least one person aged 16 to 64 years. A workless household is defined as one where no adults are in employment.

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