Speaking as official labour market statistics confirmed that unemployment in Scotland rose by 25,000 to 239,000 over the quarter to July 2010, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said:
“The ongoing and steep rise in unemployment is a social and economic disaster for Scotland. Eventually the penny might drop with politicians that the country is experiencing a crisis of high and rising unemployment, low growth and low revenues. As more and more commentators are beginning to accept, we are not in a crisis of the public finances.
“It is frightening to note that, before the coalition’s irresponsible and ideological cuts package even begins to bite, the public sector has suffered steep falls in employment over the course of the last year.
“The scale of recent employment decline in manufacturing is also deeply worrying with over 33,000 manufacturing workers having lost their jobs since the start of the recession. The STUC will soon publish a major discussion paper on manufacturing that will ask hard questions over the Scottish Government’s support for the sector.
“The rise in employment over the period under report is welcome but is largely attributable to strong growth in construction. Unfortunately this is almost certainly unsustainable given the role of seasonal factors, ongoing weakness of the housing sector and forthcoming collapse in public sector investment.
“The worse than expected UK figures may have surprised the City but are wholly consistent with every indicator of consumer and firm confidence published since the Chancellor’s June 2010 Budget.
“It is not too late for the Chancellor to reconsider the austerity measures announced in the Budget. With unemployment high and interest rates already close to zero, the stripping of demand from the economy through spending cuts is bound to result in prolonged economic stagnation and high unemployment. This will place massive costs on society and inevitably worsen the long-term fiscal position. The Chancellor must put his ideology to one side and do what is best for the country”.
Today’s ONS release confirms that 2000 jobs have been lost in ‘public administration’ since September 2009; 11,000 jobs have been lost in ‘education’ in the year to June and 24,000 jobs have been lost in ‘health and social work services’ since the turn of the year.
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