Party Leader and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed labour market statistics show that unemployment in Scotland fell by 7,000 over the quarter to February – the fifth consecutive monthly fall, and a rise in employment by 7,000 – the ninth consecutive monthly rise.
The SNP Government has working hard to get our economy moving again through robust actions to support jobs, skills and training. These statistics show that the hard work is paying dividends.
The First Minister said:
“Employment has increased in Scotland for nine months in a row, and has now also increased compared to a year ago – by 25,000 – while unemployment has fallen for the fifth consecutive month: the only nation in the UK where this sustained progress has been achieved.
“Scotland has a higher employment rate and lower economic inactivity rate than the UK as a whole.
“In particular, we have seen strong growth in Scotland’s construction sector – where there was a 13.9 per cent increase in workforce jobs to 189,000 over the year to December 2010. This compares to a decline of 2.4 per cent in the UK as a whole over the same period.
“The progress we are achieving vindicates the SNP’s decisive action to support jobs and stimulate investment by deferring last year’s UK-imposed spending cuts to protect recovery, bringing forward work on vital infrastructure projects in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and maximising our capital spending budget.
“With the powers Scotland currently has, the SNP Government are delivering an alternative economic strategy to the Con/Dem coalition’s slash and burn approach, which is delivering results.
“But while today’s labour market figures show further progress, we must continue to bring unemployment down.
“Scotland needs to secure further tools so that the UK Government cannot risk the recovery we are building, or undermine the positive path the Scottish economy is taking.
“Re-electing the SNP Government is the key to securing these vital job-creating powers, so that we can build on the positive work the Scottish Government is doing to strengthen the economy, boost employment, and keep bringing unemployment down.”
Linda Fabiani said:
“Out and about in East Kilbride, it is clear that many people are still concerned at the impact of the banking crisis on their families and their jobs.
“They recognise that responsibility for this crisis lies in Downing Street and in the board rooms of the banks that Labour let out of control.
“However, they expect the Scottish Government to do what it can to protect their family budgets and to tackle unemployment. That is exactly what the SNP Government has been doing and will continue to do.
“We stood up for Scotland when the Tories tried to take away £350 million in an early round of cuts. We used that money to invest in Scotland. As a result, construction activity in Scotland has increased, whereas for the UK as a whole it has fallen.
“This year, with the support of Scotland’s businesses, we are delivering a record 25,000 apprenticeships, and are maintaining student numbers in further and higher education.
“These are real actions to deliver jobs for Scotland. A re-elected SNP Government will maintain its focus on keeping Scotland working.”
Discover our plan to support Scotland’s economy with the Scottish Future Fund.