Jobs figures should set alarm bells ringing

Scotland’s unemployment rate is now the highest among all the UK nations, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics. Unemployment in Scotland is 4.6%, compared with a UK rate of 3.9%, according to today’s statistics.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Today’s figures should set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power. That’s because they show unemployment rising even with support measures such as the furloughing scheme in place.

“To ensure that the worst predictions for joblessness in Scotland don’t come to pass, we’ll need governments in Edinburgh and London to help local firms get back to business and create jobs. The government must prevent a situation where measures to protect jobs are withdrawn but workers, consumers and firms still face lockdown conditions.

“After the last crash, nine in ten unemployed people that re-joined the workforce did so via a small business or though self-employment. That’s why we want to see the Scottish Government put the jobs potential of local firms at the heart of their plans for recovery. In addition we’re urging the UK Government lower the cost of employment by reducing employer’s national insurance contributions.”