Dismay as jobless total in Capital up 9% in past year

Unemployment across the UK is at a 17-year high
Unemployment across the UK is at a 17-year high
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UNEMPLOYMENT in Edinburgh has risen by almost nine per cent in the past year, new figures show.

The number of people in the Capital on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) last month was 11,117 – down slightly from the previous month, but up from 10,224 in December 2010.

The latest JSA statistics came as separate labour market figures showed the number of people out of work across Scotland rose by 19,000 over the three months to November, taking the unemployment total to 231,000 or 8.6 per cent – higher than the UK average of 8.4 per cent.

At the same time, employment figures dropped by 8000 to about 2,467,000.

Wider figures show the British unemployment level has reached 2.68 million, a 17- year high, with a record number of young people out of work.

Lothians MSP and Labour spokesman on youth employment Neil Findlay described the latest figures as “a tragedy of immense proportions”.

He said: “They confirm what everyone already knows – thousands of people across Lothian and Scotland are without work, and jobs across all sectors are hard to come by.

“Tackling unemployment, through job creation, requires government intervention and economic stimulus.

“It’s high time that governments on either side of the Border did just that and rescue the hopes and aspirations of so many; especially our young people.”

In East Lothian, the number of JSA claimants rose 7.9 per cent from 1906 in December 2010 to 2057 last month, which was also 4.3 per cent up on November’s figure of 1972.

Midlothian saw a 2.7 per cent increase from 1973 in December 2010 to 2026 a year later, which was marginally up on the November figure of 2018.

West Lothian saw a fall in JSA claimants over the year – from 4257 in December 2010 to 4216 last month, but that was up on the previous month’s 4186.

Lothians MSP and Scottish Tory finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: “These unemployment figures are very concerning as they confirm that Scotland is still underperforming compared to the rest of the UK.

“In previous quarters when this wasn’t the case, the SNP quickly claimed credit and I hope that they now accept culpability for these disappointing figures.”

Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Mike Crockart said: “In Edinburgh West the number of unemployed people claiming JSA sat at 1592, which is five lower than in November 2011. It is not a huge difference but it is a small change in the right direction. I will continue to work with businesses across the constituency to try to find opportunities for young people to gain work experience and training.”