The number of people spending their second consecutive Christmas on the dole has more than doubled in Scotland over the past 2 years, a Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) analysis of labour market statistics reveals today (Wednesday).
The STUC analysis shows that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) for over 12 months has increased from 8,070 in December 2008 to 20,470 in November 2010. This represents an increase of 154% across Scotland although some local authority areas have seen rises well in excess of this figure such as East Lothian (514%), Perth and Kinross (433%), South Lanarkshire (424%), Midlothian (363%) and East Renfrewshire (343%).
STUC analysis also found that the number of young people facing their second Christmas on the dole has more than quadrupled over the past two years. Over 4000 people are about to face their third Christmas on the dole; more than 1800 in Glasgow alone.
Over the past year the rate of increase has declined to 20% although some areas continue to register very significant increases and less than a quarter of local authority areas have actually seen a decline in the number of long-term unemployed.
It must also be borne in mind that most long-term unemployed people do not claim JSA. Although the number of people claiming JSA for at least 12 months in Scotland is 20,470, the total number of people out of work for over a year is likely to be more than double this figure.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“Far too many people in Scotland are about to face their second Christmas on the dole and their prospects for finding work in 2011 are looking increasingly bleak. The dangerously irresponsible and highly ideological policies being pursued by the coalition government make it inevitable that the mistakes of past recessions will be repeated once again.
“Prolonged periods of unemployment cause real and lasting damage to the future life chances of the individuals and families affected. We know from economic history and indeed the experience of the last two years that government intervention can help sustain employment levels and assist people back into work. But now we have a Government apparently content to see unemployment and inequality continue to rise. We will all pay the social and economic costs for years to come.
“It would be outrageously complacent for Government to believe that the recent small drop in ILO unemployment in Scotland represents the start of a downwards trend. There is nothing to suggest that the Scottish labour market will sustainably improve in 2011. Indeed, with spending cuts and falling real wages depressing demand, it is likely that unemployment will continue to rise through to 2012.”
All figures were taken from National Statistics NOMIS database on 16 December 2010.
For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100 Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100