MSP WELCOMES 25-YEAR LOW IN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

The unemployment rate in Scotland has fallen to 4% – the lowest in 25 years.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson welcomed the latest Office for National Statistics figures, which show that the level of unemployment north of the border continues to be the lowest in the UK. The rate fell by 0.6 percentage points during the quarter from February to April. The UK-wide figure stands at 4.6%.

The Labour Market Statistics also show that Scotland’s employment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 74.1%, with 44,000 more people in work than the year before. And the country continues to outperform the UK on female and youth employment rates.

Mr Matheson said: “These figures are hugely positive and show that our labour market remains resilient and robust despite difficult economic conditions.

“We must be clear, though, that Brexit is a threat to Scottish jobs and, as negotiations with the EU start, I urge the UK Government to ensure that we retain our place in the single market and customs union. The result of the general election showed there is no mandate for Theresa May’s vision of a hard Brexit.

“In the meantime, the Scottish Government will continue to support jobs through our £500million Scottish Growth Scheme and a £6billion infrastructure plan.

“We’ve also announced the £2.5million Employability Innovation and Integration Fund, which will help more people get into work by tackling inequalities in the labour market.”

The Employability Innovation and Integration Fund will work with local authorities, health boards and the third sector to join up employment support with health and social care, housing and justice services.

It means jobseekers who are being held back by health or housing requirements, or who may have had experience of the criminal justice system, will get the support they need to find sustainable employment.