Edinburgh jobs: More in work but many on low pay

Many are still on low wages. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Many are still on low wages. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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MORE people are in work across the Capital than last year – with some of the city’s poorest areas enjoying the biggest jobs boost.

But while the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has fallen, council figures suggest that more people are only working part-time on low wages.

The JSA rate in Edinburgh dropped to 2.2 per cent in August – down from 2.8 per cent in September last year.

The largest year-on-year decrease was seen in the Portobello/Craigmillar ward, where the number of claimants fell to 3.4 per cent, from a high of 4.9 per cent in the same month in 2013.

And Forth ward, the area with the highest number of claimants, saw a sharp decline of 1.3 per cent – bringing the number of people taking JSA to a low of 4.3 per cent.

But across the city, the number of working-age benefits claimants increased by 290 residents, bringing the total to 38,720.

Economist Yvonne Goodwin said the fall in JSA claimants was good news for the city – but feared the council data suggested many were working part-time or for low pay.

She said: “This could mean that people are working for lower wages, which means they are entitled to claim working-age benefits, such as child credit. People could be working in part-time jobs as well.

“But it’s positive that JSA has fallen. It means that people are working and being productive, which is a good thing. And working-age benefits are not 
always means tested – it’s something a lot of people are entitled to. I think on the whole this is good news, because people are being productive.”

City chiefs hailed the fall in JSA and said the numbers demonstrated attempts to boost employment rates were “bearing fruit”.

Frank Ross, the council’s economy convener, said: “These are certainly encouraging figures, particularly for some areas experiencing more deprivation.

“The figures show that our council-led approach towards boosting employment rates is bearing fruit in the Capital. During a time of considerable economic instability, Edinburgh has stood out as a remarkably successful and 
resilient city.

“Our economic strategy, A Strategy for Jobs, centres on integrating local and inward investment support with employment readiness for individuals in priority groups.”

Job Seekers Allowance claimant Rates by Ward August 2014

Almond 1.2%

Leith 3.4%

City Centre 1.7%

Leith Walk 2.2%

Colinton/Fairmilehead 1.3%

Liberton/Gilmerton 2.9%

Corstorphine/Murrayfield 1.3%

Meadows/Morningside 0.8%

Craigentinny/Duddingston 2.6%

Pentland Hills 1.8%

Drum Brae/Gyle 1.8%

Portobello/Craigmillar 3.4%

Forth 4.3%

Sighthill/Gorgie 4.1%

Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart 1.6%

Southside/Newington 1.4%

Inverleith 1.2%

All Edinburgh 2.2%