Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray have expressed their concerns that the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Dumfries and Galloway remains above both the Scottish and British average according to the latest figures published today (Wednesday 15 October).
The figures from the Office of National Statistics show that whilst the Jobseekers Allowance claimant count for young people aged 16-24 fell from 585 (5.3%) in August to 480 (4.4%) in September, it is still higher than the Scottish figure of 4% and significantly higher than the British average of 3.7%.
Overall the Jobseekers Allowance claimant count in the region fell from 2188 (2.9%) in August to 1957 (2.2%) in September. However, as well as high levels of youth unemployment, the region continues to suffer from a major problem of underemployment. Based on the most up to date figures, of the 53,200 people in work in Dumfries and Galloway 62.7% are in full-time employment far lower than the Scottish average of 66.8% and British average of 67.7%. 19,900 people in the region are in part-time work (37.7%) higher than the Scottish average of 33.2% and British average of 32.3%.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said, “There is clearly a major problem in Dumfries and Galloway with underemployment. Too many of the jobs being created in our region are part time or zero hour contracts and very often they are low paid jobs. Little is being done by the UK and Scottish Governments to address this problem.”
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray MSP said, “The level of youth unemployment in the area still remains too high. The local council are taken measures to address the issue with their proposals on apprenticeships but we need proper investment from the Scottish and UK Government to create new opportunities for young people in our region”.