New figures released by the Office for National Statistics show almost 1,000 claimants of Job-Seekers Allowance (JSA) in North Ayrshire have been unemployed for more than six-months. A further 665 JSA claimants have been without a job for more than a year. The figures are the highest for the local area since records began in 2006.
The total number of JSA claimants in North Ayrshire now stands at 6.1 per cent of population aged between 16 and 64, compared with a Scotland-wide figure of 4 per cent and 3.8 per cent for the UK.
Speaking to the3towns, North Ayrshire & Arran MP Katy Clark expressed her “deep concern” over the latest figures, adding, “Since August 2011 the number of people claiming JSA has remained persistently over 900 in North Ayrshire and Arran. I fear that we are slowly beginning to see the true damaging effects of the Government’s austerity measures on employment in the area, as increasing numbers of people are moving into medium and long-term unemployment.”
Ms Clark highlighted evidence that shows the longer people remain unemployed, the more difficult it can be for them to re-engage with the labour market. “It is imperative the Government takes immediate action to ensure we do not have a repeat performance of the situation we faced in the 1970s and 1980s,” said the Labour MP. “It is clear there are simply not enough jobs in places like North Ayrshire and Arran.
“It is important the Government looks at further ways to increase employment levels by encouraging growth through business investment at a local level.”