More gloom on the unemployment front

unemployment figures for February rose in the Borders.

Those out of work in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk area now stand at 2,074 – up 4.6 per cent from 1,991 the previous month. And the number of job seekers in the constituency has also increased on a year ago, from 1,983.

Those in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale not working was 1,761, having previously been 1,685 in January. There was no rise from the corresponding month last year, although the number of women not employed in the constituency rose in 12 months by 12.7 per cent.

Unemployment across Scotland now stands at 8.7 per cent.

John Lamont, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, accused the Scottish Government of making the situation worse by cutting college budgets and imposing a Scotland-only retail tax.

“This means that not only will there be fewer jobs to apply for, but colleges will be less able to provide the training needed for individuals to find work,” added Mr Lamont.

However, Scottish Government finance secretary John Swinney claimed the blame lay at the door of Westminister.

He said: “Last month, the Scottish Government delivered a budget for growth – which boosts public sector capital investment, takes action to tackle unemployment and in particular youth unemployment, and enhances economic security.

“The Scottish Government is using every lever currently available to us to secure new investment and create and safeguard jobs, in the face of severe cuts from Westminster.”