Dey welcomes new figures

Graeme Dey, the MSP for Angus South, has welcomed the latest fall in Scottish unemployment but made clear there would be no complacency on the part of the Scottish Government.

The SNP parliamentarian was responding to positive figures published this week by the Office of National Statistics, which reveal UK unemployment fell by 14,000 over the quarter with Scotland accounting for 13,000 of this net change.

Scottish youth unemployment is also down 28,000 over the last year marking the largest annual fall since 2006.

There was more good news with the claimant count down by 600 over the month of January 2013, the third consecutive monthly fall.

This drop was reflected in Angus where the number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell last month compared with the same period last year.

The total number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and National Insurance Credits in the region last month was 2,211 - down 4.3% (100) compared with January 2012, and 6.9% (171) compared with January 2011.

Mr Dey said: “These are encouraging figures and represent clear evidence that Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK.

“But we aren’t going to get carried away with these numbers. There are still too many people not in employment and struggling for opportunities.

“The drive to get people into work remains a priority for the Scottish Government. Only last month the Scottish Government announced a further £385 million package of economic stimulus as well as a tax relief package for business worth over £540 million this year.

“However, there is only so much the government can do when it does not have full economic and fiscal powers.”

Youth unemployment now stands at 18.4% compared with 20.6% in the UK, and the youth employment rate in Scotland is 54.9% compared to 51.6% in the UK.