Unemployment Falls Significantly In Scotland, Says Debt Management Company Scottish Trust Deeds
New unemployment figures show 19,000 fewer people claimed the dole in Scotland between August and October, the largest fall for four years says debt management company Scottish Trust Deeds who provide Debt Advice in Scotland.
Around 204,000 people claimed unemployment benefit in the second quarter of 2012, a significant drop that follows on from three months of rising unemployment figures and the largest seen since March to May 2008. Overall, the number of unemployed is now 25,000 less than the same period last year.
The figures for those claiming Jobseeker’s allowance also went down by 1100 between October and November, leaving Scotland with a lower unemployment rate overall than the rest of the UK – 7.6% compared to 7.8%. However while the last quarter saw the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment in over 10 years for the UK, Scotland in contrast saw the number of people in employment fall by 27,000.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "These figures show the largest fall in Scotland's unemployment rate since March to May 2008. The unemployment rate in Scotland is once again lower than that of the UK as a whole and is the lowest of all UK nations."
While a spokesperson for debt management company Scottish Trust Deeds welcomed the drop in those claiming benefits, they were also cautious about reading too much into the figures. “At first glance the figures look optimistic but it doesn’t mean that 19,000 people are now employed.
“The welfare system is undergoing many changes in response to austerity measures, plus the figures include those who are not working but not receiving benefits. It could be that a proportion of the drop seen is due to people being shifted off the dole. The fact that the figures for employment have also dropped suggests a proportion of the people have simply moved into the ‘not working but not claiming benefits’ category for one reason or another.”
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) recently demanded action over figures which showed that the number of people out of work for more than 12 months has risen by 50%, and the numbers of unemployed young Scottish adults has quadrupled since May 2010 when the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was voted in.
The government has recently addressed the problem of unemployment in its Autumn Statement, which outlined a package of measures to encourage economic growth. Unemployment is a key area it wants to get to grips with before any issues of Independence are finalised.
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Micheal Moore, the Scottish Secretary, has said the UK Government is "not complacent" in tackling the problem. In a statement in response to the new unemployment figures he said: "This is why we set out a package of measures in the Autumn Statement last week to protect the economy, support growth and ensure fairness while maintaining the crucial fiscal strategy."