South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his concern at the latest blow to the economy of Dumfries and Galloway’s as new UK Government figures reveal that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the region has risen.

Figures published today (24 January) by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that 1590 people within the region are claiming unemployment benefits, a rise of 110 from the previous month.

Since December 2016, there is an additional 135 people claiming unemployment benefits, demonstrating an on-going slow decline in the region’s economy.

Commenting on the figures South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The jobs figures are the latest blow to the economy of Dumfries and Galloway and show the real difficulties our region faces. The figures show clearly that both the UK and Scottish Government are simply not doing enough to tackle the huge weaknesses we face in the local economy.  The Borderlands Growth Deal and the South of Scottish Enterprise Agency are two proposals that would bring investment and jobs into the region, but the progress in both is simply not good enough.

“The UK Government would rather arrange more meetings and photocalls on the Borderlands rather than come up with hard cash to invest in projects, whilst the Scottish Government is already behind schedule with its plans for a new South of Scotland Interim Agency, which it claimed would be up and running by the end of 2017. Not a penny has been spent by either Government on these initiatives to promote and grow our economy”.

“We need to see urgent action from both the UK and Scottish Government’s before even more young people join the exodus leaving our region because of the lack of jobs”.


For the full set of statistics please see:

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