South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has called for urgent action after unemployment figures in Dumfries and Galloway show they are the highest this year.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in July 2019 2,655 people across Dumfries and Galloway were claiming out of work benefits. It meant that in July this year 3% of the working age population were claiming out of work benefits and looking for work.

This was the highest out of work benefit claimant count since March 2014 when 2,700 people across the region were looking for work.

Colin Smyth said, “Behind these figures are people across our region desperately looking for employment. With 2,655 in Dumfries and Galloway out of work it is clear that urgent action must be taken”.

“Much has been said about the signing of the Borderlands Growth Deal and the establishment of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency. However, neither of these will deliver for people looking for jobs in our region right here, right now.  They and their families can’t wait. When you speak to businesses in the area, it is also clear that for many the fear over leaving the EU, particularly the increasing likeliness of a no-deal Brexit, is creating a barrier to job creation. Many businesses are choosing not to take people on at the moment because they are so uncertain about the future and realise that no matter what preparations are made, crashing out of the EU without a deal will hurt businesses in Dumfries and Galloway and damage trade”.

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