Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has underlined the UK Government’s pledge to build back better after the pandemic after new figures showed today (15 June) that Scotland’s unemployment rate increased slightly in the last quarter.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate between February and April for those aged 16 and over was 4.2%, a 0.1% increase on the previous quarter. This was below the UK-wide rate of 4.7% for over-16s.
The employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 in Scotland was 74.2%, a 0.1% drop on the previous quarter.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:
There are encouraging elements to today’s figures, but these are challenging times and we still have a lot to do to get people back into work and see our economy prosper again.
The UK Government has acted quickly and decisively since the beginning of the pandemic to protect livelihoods and keep businesses afloat in every part of the UK.
Our furlough scheme – extended until the end of September – is continuing to support almost 270,000 Scottish jobs.
The UK Government is entirely focused on covid recovery. We are investing £1.5 billion in growth deals across Scotland, and our new Levelling Up, Community Renewal and Community Ownership Funds will invest in communities right across the UK. Our Plan for Jobs is also creating opportunities through Kickstart and sector work programmes for young people.
*The UK Government’s furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September 2021, paying up to 80 percent of wages. The self-employed support scheme has also been extended to the end of September 2021. At their peak, these schemes supported more than 900,000 Scottish jobs.
*More than 90,000 businesses in Scotland have been supported from UK Government business loans worth £3.4 billion.
*The UK Government has provided billions in extra funding for the welfare system for those unable to access other forms of support. This includes £20 Universal Credit uplift which has also been extended until the end of September 2021.
*This direct support is on top of the additional £14.5 billion provided to the Government since the start of the pandemic.
*The UK Government is investing billions to help people of all ages back into work, including our £2 billion Kickstart scheme for young people, sector work programmes and recruitment of thousands of additional Work Coaches.
*The UK Government continues to provide the bulk of Covid testing in Scotland and has moved quickly to buy vaccines, securing more than 500 million doses from seven vaccine developers for distribution across all parts of the UK.