SOUTH of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has criticised the UK and Scottish Government’s lack of focus on the economy of Dumfries and Galloway
His criticism comes after the region bucked the national trend and say a rise in the number of people out of work and claiming benefits.
Figures released today showed that for the second month in a row people in Dumfries and Galloway the number of people claiming unemployment benefits had increased.
In total 1,625 people in Dumfries and Galloway are claiming unemployment benefits, representing about 1.8% of working aged people. This is slightly below the UK average of 1.9% of people and well below the Scotland average of 2.4%.
Last month (Jan 2017) only 1,520 people where claiming unemployment benefits 6 months ago (Sep 2016) that figures stood as low as 1,445.
The figures are further compounded by figures showing that in 2016 Dumfries and Galloway workers earned on average £454.60 per week whereas the average Scottish worker earned £535.00 and the UK average worker earned £540.20. This considerable wage gap highlights how the area is suffering from a considerable lack of living wage jobs.
Colin Smyth MSP said: “These figures show that whilst the Scottish Government’ bangs on about independence and the UK Government goes on about Brexit, the issues that matter to people’s everyday lives such as jobs are taking a back seat.
“Rather than focusing on improving our economy, our schools or our hospitals, we have two governments fighting over the constitution whilst our area suffers.
“People are losing their jobs in Dumfries and Galloway and we are seeing no action from either Government to prevent this.
“We need strong investment in the area to encourage businesses to come to Dumfries and Galloway but also to help existing businesses stay and grow here. Jobs are so crucial to our communities, but whilst we have the SNP and Tory parties in Government fighting amongst themselves over referendums, I fear the concerns of the people of Dumfries and Galloway will fall on deaf ears.
We need our governments to start focusing on what really matter to the people of Dumfries and Galloway.”