Scotland business

Unemployment in Scotland increases to 8%

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Image caption The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,478,000

Unemployment in Scotland rose by 5,000, to 215,000 in the three months from July to September, according to official figures.

The number of people claiming benefit fell slightly - by 900 - in October, although the level is up by 8,300 on a year ago.

The Scottish unemployment rate is now 8%, below the UK average of 8.3%.

Total UK unemployment increased by 129,000 between July and September to 2.62 million.

The labour market statistics from the Office for National Statistics also showed that employment in Scotland had decreased by 28,000 in the same period.

The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,478,000.

Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said: "The Scottish unemployment figures are a stark reminder we cannot allow any let-up in our efforts to get the economy back to full health and people back into work as soon as possible.

"Each of these numbers represents an individual or a family directly affected by the economic downturn and the UK government is doing all it can to create growth and reverse this trend."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the increase in the number of people out of work reinforced the urgent need for the UK government to deliver a "Plan MacB" approach.

He said: "The UK government must deliver real action in the areas where Scottish government policy is making a difference - increased capital expenditure, improved access to finance for medium and small-sized businesses, and the introduction of measures to boost economic confidence and income security.

"The Scottish government and our enterprise agencies are working hard to secure new jobs and investment, and to retain Scotland's position as the most competitive environment for business in the UK, through measures such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme."

'Need a plan'

Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish secretary, said the latest figures showed the country was in the grip of an "unemployment crisis".

The MP said: "These are deeply concerning figures because behind every statistic is a person suffering the indignity of unemployment and a family coping with losing their income.

"The Scottish economy desperately needs growth and we need a plan from the SNP that actually gets results.

"Scotland is now stuck between a Tory government cutting too fast and an SNP government whose economic policy simply isn't working."

The chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Liz Cameron, said it was "extremely disappointing" that Scottish unemployment had risen for the second consecutive month.

She added: "Whilst it is important to remember that our overall unemployment rate of 8% is still marginally below the UK average, the fact remains that economic conditions remain challenging in Scotland.

"Growth remains extremely shallow, business and consumer confidence are low and the potential fallout from the Eurozone crisis is of extreme concern.

"Scotland cannot afford for skilled individuals to remain unemployed for any length of time and we need to give our businesses the support needed to get these people back into work as soon as possible."

'Mistakes of past'

The Scottish Trades Union Congress said the rise in unemployment figures was worrying.

Its general secretary Grahame Smith added that it was an "insult to the intelligence of the Scottish people" for coalition ministers to blame rising unemployment on the Eurozone crisis.

Mr Smith said: "Since the banking crisis was at its height over three years ago, the STUC has consistently warned that the mistakes of past recessions are in danger of being replayed.

"That this now looks more an inevitability than a possibility is a shocking indictment of the coalition government and a tragedy for the unemployed and communities across Scotland."

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