‘Jobs figures are a taste of things to come’

The number of people employed in Scotland fell by 15,000 between April and June, according to official statistics published today. The figures – published by the ONS – show that Scotland’s unemployment rate is now 4.9% in comparison to the UK average of 3.9%. Employment in the UK fell by the largest amount in over a decade between April and June.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Today’s stark statistics give us a taste of things to come, unless decision-makers intensify their efforts to rehabilitate the economy. At every turn, we must remember that these aren’t just numbers on a page but livelihoods lost.

“We need to help local businesses create and sustain jobs. The Chancellor could look to keep additional costs low by – for instance – cutting employer national insurance contributions. And, while we understand the rationale for winding down the furlough scheme, the UK Government can’t take the option of some form of meaningful extension off the table if things turn from bad to worse.

“This crisis will see tens of thousands of people in Scotland lose their jobs and look for new opportunities. Our skills and education networks need to be prepared for a surge in people looking to upskill and retrain. Similarly, we need to support and encourage those self-starters prepared to use a change of circumstance as the catalyst they needed to start their own business. On both fronts, we’ll need nimble but considered policymaking from the Scottish Government.”