South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is urging the UK and Scottish Government’s to stop being complacent over unemployment, after the latest figures published today (16 August) by the office of national statistics (ONS) showed an increase in the number of people unemployed in Dumfries and Galloway.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the region in July has risen to 1590 compared with 1530 the previous year. There has also been a slight increase in the number of people from last month (June) where 1560 people were claiming unemployment benefits.


These figures mean that Dumfries and Galloway sits just below the UK average of 1.9% of the population claiming unemployment benefits, with 1.8% of people in Dumfries and Galloway claiming.


Discussing the results South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: 


“These figures show an increase in the number of people unemployed across Dumfries and Galloway so it is vital that both the UK and Scottish Government stop being so complacent when it comes to unemployment. We are continually being told that unemployment isn’t a problem anymore, but try telling that to the nearly 1600 people across the region on Job Seekers Allowance, never mind those out of work but not entitled to that benefit.  


Two ways the Government could support the region in tackling unemployment is to better support local businesses by getting the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency up and running as soon as possible to encourage both business development and jobs in the area. The proposals put forward by the councils of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders shows that an agency can be created and start working within months not years.  


The UK and Scottish Government can also stop just saying they support the Borderlands Initiative being developed by local councils in the South of Scotland and north of England but actually put forward some hard cash to pay for it. With fewer job opportunities in public services locally due to cuts to local services such as policing, hospitals and education, we need to see more being done for investment and job growth in Dumfries and Galloway

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