Youth unemployment figures in West Dunbartonshire fall new stats show

The number of young people out of work in West Dunbartonshire is steadily falling, according to new figures.

A total of 489 people aged 18 to 24 living in the region were unemployed in January – but this is 12 percent fewer than five years ago.

The Department for Work and Pensions statistics meanwhile reveal the number of Universal Credit claimants in West Dunbartonshire went up by one percent to 9,461 as of December 9.

West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said he was encouraged by the employment figures but is hugely concerned about the impact of cost of living increases on struggling families.

It comes as residents tackle rising fuel bills, as well as inflation which reached 5.4 percent in December – its highest rate in 30 years,

He said: “Whilst it’s welcome news that the headline employment stats in West Dunbartonshire are improving, the reality is that too many local families are facing hardship due to the rise in cost of living.

“Under this Conservative government, in-work poverty across the UK is the worst it’s been this century.

“Wages are failing to keep pace with the soaring costs of food and energy bills, which is putting a huge strain on household budgets.

“We need to see more high quality and sustainable jobs. Too many are in insecure low-paid employment, but the UK government shamefully refuses to introduce a real living wage or tackle zero-hour contracts.”

Meanwhile, in Argyll and Bute, which takes in Helensburgh, the number of people out of work rocketed in August 2021 compared to five years earlier.

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Some 2017 people in all ages were jobless, up 43 percent from 1410 in 2016.

And worryingly in the 18 to 24 category, there was a 60 percent increase, with 332 out of work.

Elizabeth MacBrayne, Argyll and Bute DWP Employment and Partnership Manager, said: “As part of the government’s overall Plan for Jobs, DWP has a number of programs to support the needs of our customers.

“They have job finding support for those unemployed under 13 weeks and job entry targeted support for those unemployed over 13 weeks.

“The Kickstart Scheme which supports creation of six-month work placements young people aged 16 to 24 years old who might be at risk of long-term unemployment closed for applications at midday on December 17 but we are working closely with customers and employers to fill their existing vacancies.

“There are lots of other opportunities within daily travel, as well as home working opportunities.

“I would ask young people in receipt of Universal Credit to keep in touch with their Jobcentre work coach.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The UK Government’s Plan for Jobs is working for Scotland, with paidrolled employees increasing at a greater monthly percentage than anywhere else in the UK, and remaining above pre-pandemic levels.

“Continuing to tackle the pandemic, driving our recovery and getting even more people back into work continue to be our top priorities.

“Our job support schemes including Kickstart and targeted support through our jobcentre network are helping people up and down the country find jobs and progress in work.

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“Our record £41billion a year funding for the Scottish Government will also support business growth and job creation as we level up across the whole UK.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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