Scotland

Female employment in Scotland at record high

Woman entering a job centre Image copyright Getty Images

Female employment in Scotland has risen by 46,000 over the past year to a record 1,288,000, government statistics have revealed.

The number of women claiming jobseekers' allowance has also fallen by 8,900 to 27,900 - the lowest total since February 2009.

Figures showed 71.4% of women in Scotland were working, compared to 68.1% across the UK as a whole.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said it was a "real success story".

He added: "2014 has seen Scotland consistently outperform the UK on employment, unemployment and inactivity rates, and Scotland's economy continues to go from strength to strength

"Over the last two years, the gap between male and female employment rates has narrowed in Scotland, unlike the UK - with the gap closing by 3.6 percentage points in Scotland."

'Economic success'

The male employment rate north of the border is 5.5 points higher than the female rate, compared to 9.1 points in the 2012.

In the UK, the gap has gone from 10.3 points two years ago to 9.7 points in 2014.

Mr Swinney added: "As the Scottish economy grows our task is to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from that economic success.

"It is a top priority of this government to tackle the inequalities that blight our society and by strengthening and stabilising our economy with an active and engaged workforce we can go a long way to make that happen.

"With discussion on further powers for the Scottish Parliament now taking place it is essential that we have the full tools we need to support employment opportunities for everyone in Scotland."

Scottish Labour finance, constitution and economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "If the Scottish government were serious about tackling inequalities they would not have voted against the living wage five times in 2014.

"Over a quarter of a million women in Scotland are paid less than the living wage and yet when Scottish Labour proposed extending the living wage to more low paid jobs and banning zero hour contracts the SNP voted with the Tories to block it.

"In May Scots have the chance to vote for a UK Labour government which will ban exploitative zero hour contracts, raise the minimum wage, and offer a jobs guarantee to our young people. Only Labour can kick David Cameron out of Number 10 and deliver a fairer economy for women."

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