Unemployment in the central and eastern Borders has almost halved over the last eight years, according to statistics released this week.
The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in the UK Parliament’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency has fallen by nearly 50% since 2010, figures published by the Office for National Statistics reveal.
They show that just over 1,000 people are now claiming the allowance in the constituency.
That’s down 120 since February 2015 and 968 since five years prior to that, the latter being a fall of 49%.
John Lamont, MP for the seat since June last year and MSP for the Scottish Government’s largely-overlapping Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat for the preceding decade, has welcomed that news.
“These figures are good news for the Borders and show how far the economy has come since 2010,” he said.
“For the number of people claiming jobseeker’s benefits to have halved is a significant achievement.
“More people with the security of a pay packet and the fulfilment of a job is something to welcome.
“However, the Scottish Borders continues to suffer from low pay, and too many people are in work but still struggling.
“That is why people in the Borders are set to benefit from UK Government’s policies like tax cuts for those on low incomes and wage rises.”
“More needs to be done to improve pay for everyone and bring better-paid jobs to the Borders.
“We have an opportunity to boost the local economy with the Borderlands growth deal, and one of my priorities for this investment will be to bring well-paid jobs to the Borders as quickly as possible.”
The new economic agency being set up by the Scottish Government for the south of the country also promises to bring more jobs to the Borders, and it has been welcomed by the region’s two constituency MSPs.
Rachael Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: “This is a great opportunity for the south of Scotland and the Scottish Borders, and we need to make sure we get this right.
“That means focusing on the key areas that drive our local economies.”
Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, added: “This is good news for people across the Borders.
“An agency such as this has made a positive impact across the Highlands and Islands, and it can have a similarly transformative impact for the Borders, helping to support jobs, develop and diversify the local economy, and to sustain and grow our communities.”