Unemployment figures rise

THE Borders has missed out on £9 million of Scottish Government funding to create employment and training opportunities for young people.

Six council areas have been identified by the Scottish Government as having particular challenges with youth employment and share the £9 million from the £30 million Youth Employment Strategy fund.

The funding is broken down as follows: Glasgow – £3,371,000; North Lanarkshire – £1,825,000; South Lanarkshire – £1,457,000; North Ayrshire – £828,000; Renfrewshire – £799,000; East Ayrshire – £720,000.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to raising youth employment.

“We have guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training through Opportunities for All, backed up by an additional £30 million investment.

“From this funding, I am very pleased to give £9 million to six local authorities we have identified as priority areas with particular local difficulties with employment opportunities for young people.

Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay added: “On top of ensuring 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship opportunities in every year of this parliament, we have already rolled out several tranches of the Youth Employment Strategy fund since December towards schemes linked to the voluntary sector and young carers. I am therefore pleased to now be working closely with a number of councils with particular challenges around young people and their local jobs market.”

Statistics released last week showed that unemployment in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk is on the rise. The total number of unemployed people in the constituency now sits at 2,074.

Local MSP John Lamont said: “These figures are deeply worrying and show that the SNP are failing to get to grips with the unemployment problem in the Borders and across Scotland.

“With people all over the region finding it harder and harder to get a job we need to be doing all we can to help them find employment.

“Instead, the SNP are making the situation worse by slashing the college budget, and imposing a Scotland only retail tax that will cost jobs.

“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.

“If we are to see more job opportunities created the SNP need to prioritise the economy and work closely with the UK Government. The sooner this happens the sooner we can see this rise in unemployment reversed in the Borders.”