South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that nearly 2,300 people in Dumfries and Galloway spent Christmas looking for work.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics today (22 January) show that in December 2018 2,280 people in the region were claiming out of work benefits. This was an increase of 117 people compared to the previous month.

The figures mean there was an increase of 685 people looking for work this Christmas compared to the previous year- the highest claimant count since July 2014.

Colin Smyth said, “This significant increase in people looking for work is terrible news for the families affected and our region. Normally you see a fall in unemployment during December due to seasonal work. But with the loss of employers such as Pinneys those types of opportunities are now few and far between and our region is in a dangerous upward spiral when it comes to unemployment. It is a tragedy that 2,280 people spent Christmas in Dumfries and Galloway looking for a job.

In the light of recent economic shocks we need to see urgent action from both the Scottish and UK Governments to invest in our local economy and infrastructure. While a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency is the right way forward that is two years away. We need to see immediate action to support existing business create high skilled, high paid jobs. Both Governments also need to stop dragging their heals and commit funding to the Borderlands Growth Deal so that investment can be allocated to projects across the region. We are seeing levels of joblessness that we haven’t seen since 2014 in Dumfries and Galloway and our region is bucking the national trend of falling unemployment”.

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