Speaking as official labour market statistics showed that the number of people seeking work in Scotland rose by 13,000 to 231,000 over the quarter to August 2010, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said:
“The unemployment rate in Scotland now stands at 8.6%, higher than the UK average of 7.7% and is the highest of any nation in the UK. We may be seeing small falls in the numbers claiming job seekers allowance but this cannot disguise the fact that an ever growing number of people are looking for work but are unable to find it. These figures should send alarm bells ringing for any politician who is interested in protecting the Scottish economy.
“The simple fact is that the country is experiencing a crisis of high and rising unemployment, low growth and low revenues. These quarterly figures continuously demonstrate the weakness of the economy and more and more commentators are beginning to accept that further cuts are not the answer.
“ It is frightening to think that even before the coalition’s irresponsible and ideological cuts package begins to bite we are seeing a continuing stream of bad news for Scotland, with unemployment rising and the prospects for economic recovery looking bleak.
“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 even higher 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”.
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