North Ayrshire has retained its unwanted title as Scotland’s worst unemployment black spot.
Figures for January, issued by the Office for National Statistics, show the number of local people out of work and claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) now stands at 6.3 per cent, compared with 4.1 per cent for Scotland as a whole. The North Ayrshire total has reached 5,368 – with 1,110 people having been out of work for over a year.
Worryingly, there are now 1,570 local young people (between the ages of 18 and 24) without work and claiming JSA.
Other areas of the country blighted by soaring unemployment are also located in west-central Scotland: West Dunbartonhire – 6.2 per cent; East Ayrshire – 6 per cent; Glasgow 5.7 per cent; North Lanarkshire 5.5 per cent. The lowest unemployment is in Aberdeenshire, which has a rate of 1.4 per cent.
Other figures released last week show North Ayrshire is lagging behind in terms of wage levels. The median hourly pay for full-time male staff in the local area is £12.34, while the figure for Scotland is £12.44 and for the UK it is £13.32. The median pay for full-time female staff in North Ayrshire comes in at £11.34, compared with £11.88 for Scotland and £11.95 for the UK.
According to the official unemployment figures, there are now 231,000 people without work in Scotland.
Scotland Office Minister David Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland, described the figures as “disappointing”.