Scotland business

Scottish jobless rises by 19,000

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Media captionThe Scottish jobless rate now stands at 8.6% which is higher than the UK rate of 8.4%

Unemployment in Scotland rose by 19,000 to 231,000 in the three months from September to November, according to official figures.

The number of people claiming benefit fell by 1,400 in December, although the level is up 3,100 on a year ago. The total is now 140,900.

The Scottish unemployment rate is now 8.6%, which is higher than the UK average of 8.4%.

Total UK unemployment rose 118,000 to 2.68 million.

Responding to the figures, Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney repeated his call for a UK-wide jobs summit to agree an immediate programme of employment creation.

New initiative

He said: "These new figures show that there is a need for further sustained activity to support Scotland's economic recovery.

"That is why the Scottish government is using every lever currently available to us to secure new investment and create and safeguard jobs, including our new initiative this week to establish four enterprise areas for Scotland."

He added: "The Scottish government is also reiterating our call to the Chancellor for an urgent jobs summit - comprised of the four finance ministers of the Westminster government and the devolved administrations - to agree a programme of immediate employment creation, with a focus on increased infrastructure investment."

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: "There can be no clearer signal we need to focus on getting the economy back to health than the rise in unemployment shown by these figures.

"We have to get Scotland back to work and it is imperative we keep making the right decisions to support and grow our economy.

"Restoring confidence and stability will require work across every sector and I will continue to meet with a wide variety of businesses and organisations in the coming weeks and months."

'Bleak day'

Scottish Labour said it was "a bleak day" for the Scottish economy and for those now out of work.

Party leader Johann Lamont said: "Scotland is now in the grip of a national crisis, with unemployment figures reaching disaster levels and even worse than the rest of the UK.

"We face a toxic mix of unemployment and low growth in Scotland. This needs a crisis response from the Scottish government.

"Alex Salmond's economic strategy isn't working and as a result Scotland risks being pushed into a vicious cycle of low growth and high unemployment, with all the social misery that goes with fear of recession."

The Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland said concerted action was needed to encourage job creation and confidence in the Scottish economy.

Scottish policy convener Andy Willox added: "Action on spiralling small business overheads could give firms the boost they need.

"Only by taking co-ordinated action right across local, Scottish and UK government will we stand a chance of turning this worrying situation around."

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