STUC on Labour Market Statistics

February 17th 2010

Speaking on the release of the February Labour market statistics for Scotland, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:

“There is no disguising the fact that today’s figures represent very bad news for Scotland. Employment is down and there have been significant increases in both claimant count and ILO unemployment.

“Policymakers benefit from years of accumulated knowledge on the impact of unemployment which clearly demonstrates the following:

  1. beyond serious illness or the loss of a loved one, unemployment (particularly prolonged periods) is about the worst thing that can happen to an individual; increasing as it does susceptibility to mental stress, depression and illness. The psychological imprint of unemployment persists even when individuals return to work;
  2. the life chances of young people are permanently impaired by prolonged periods of unemployment; and,
  3. the long run costs of unemployment to the economy are colossal.

“Therefore, politicians should desist from unhelpful comparisons between the performance of the UK and Scottish labour markets. Instead they must redouble efforts to keep people in work and assist those currently out of work.

“A good start would be to drop the auction of virtue on public spending cuts. With the economy and labour market so fragile, it is almost certain that swingeing cuts will provoke a double dip recession, if not a full blown depression. Those who propose such economic masochism are apparently content for the mistakes of previous recessions to be repeated. It will be communities across Scotland who will have to live with the consequences”. ENDS

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