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Figures worse than UK average

Hepburn blames Brexit as Scottish jobs outlook weakens

Jamie Hepburn

Jamie Hepburn: ‘There are some things the Scottish Government cannot mitigate’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn blamed Brexit as new figures showed the number of people in jobs in Scotland over the last three months fell more sharply than the UK average.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics indicated that the number of people in employment across the UK fell by 0.2% (56,000) to 75.9% (32.69 million). Employment in Scotland fell by 1.4% to 74.3%.

Unemployment across the UK increased by 0.1% to 3.9% (1.31m) while it rose by 0.8% to 4.1% in Scotland.

The ONS said employment growth had “cooled noticeably”.

However, wages continued to outpace the rate of inflation, with earnings excluding bonuses growing at an annual pace of 3.8%.

 Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Brexit is having an increasingly negative impact on Scotland’s economy and labour market, and that is demonstrated by these figures.

“There are some things the Scottish Government cannot mitigate. But within the limit of our powers we are working as hard as possible to prevent damage to Scotland’s jobs, businesses and economy being inflicted by a UK Government-led Brexit.

“We will continue working to create the right economic conditions for employment, such as our ‘Prepare for Brexit’ campaign – helping build economic resilience through grants which support businesses to have response plans in place.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “The latest figures show that employment is down across Scotland, signalling a bump in the road for what has been a robust local labour market.

“With huge uncertainty impacting the whole economy, this is a timely reminder to focus on the basics: boosting productivity and maintaining Scotland’s competitiveness. The UK Government and its EU partners also need to strain every sinew to deliver a Brexit deal that can bring much needed certainty to businesses across the UK.” 

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, said: “It is concerning to see unemployment increase in Scotland at a sharper rate than anywhere else in the UK.

“Yesterday, the UK Government set out a bold and ambitious domestic agenda with the Queen’s Speech, that will result in more jobs in Scotland through the fisheries bill, more security in retirement and more money to the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula.

“I urge the Scottish Government to work with us to boost the Scottish economy and create jobs, making sure we are ready to enjoy a prosperous future once we leave the EU on the 31 October.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, said: “It is deeply concerning that unemployment is on the rise in Scotland and now at a higher rate than the UK as whole.

“Uncertainty around Brexit caused by the Tories and a lack of investment by the SNP in the Scottish economy is leaving ordinary workers to pay the price.

“Instead of grandstanding about referendums at her party conference, Nicola Sturgeon should be focussed on stopping the rise in unemployment in our communities.

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