Kerr: ‘We can’t be complacent’ on jobs

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The fragile nature of the Borders economy has been made clear in the latest jobseekers statistics, according to a local MSP.

New official figures show employment in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire has risen by 5,000 under the Conservative Government.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show employment in the constituency is now at 35,000 or 76.9%. This is a rise of 5,000 since May 2011, the earliest figures for the constituency available.

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire continues to fall, and currently stands at 455 claimants. This is a fall of 760 under the UK Conservative Government and a fall of 240 from last year.

The figures also compare well to Scotland as a whole, where employment now stands at 73.2%.

Local MSP John Lamont has said the figures show how much the Scottish Borders is benefitting from the UK’s economic recovery, but has said that recent job losses in Hawick and Eyemouth show how fragile this recovery remains.

John Lamont MSP said: “These positive figures show that the UK Government’s long term economic plan continues to deliver results, building a stronger, healthier Borders economy.

“Policies like tax cuts for businesses, the cap on benefits and cuts to income tax for low earners means more and more Borderers are moving into work and more households now have the security of a pay packet.

“However the recent job losses in Hawick and Eyemouth show that behind the headline figures, there is still a real need to support some sectors of the Borders economy. This is why it is so important for the SNP to provide a long term plan for the textiles industry in Hawick.”

John added: “Now that the Scottish Parliament is getting huge powers over tax and welfare, the SNP must set out how it is going to protect people’s jobs and ensure that more and more people find work.”