Yesterday (29th October) Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray used Portfolio Question Time to ask Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment, what steps the Scottish Government are taking to address youth unemployment in Dumfries & Galloway.
Ms Constance acknowledged that the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants aged 18-24 was ‘marginally’ higher than the Scottish average however spoke of no region specific plans to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment in Dumfries & Galloway.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the Jobseekers Allowance claimant count for young people aged 16-24 in Dumfries & Galloway was 480 (4.4%) in September, higher than the Scottish figure of 4% and significantly higher than the British average of 3.7%.
Speaking after her question, Elaine Murray MSP said:
“For the Youth Employment Secretary to be unable to come up with any answers on what her government's plans are to help young people into work in Dumfries & Galloway is extremely worrying.
“The SNP know that unemployment and underemployment are a problem in rural areas such as Dumfries & Galloway, however have no plans in place to tackle the issue.
“Young people are crying out for quality, well-paid jobs in our region and instead are continually being ignored. How much longer will we have to call for investment and action in Dumfries & Galloway before the Scottish Government delivers.”