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by Tom Freeman
19 February 2015
Job figures ‘built on low pay’

Job figures ‘built on low pay’

Yesterday’s labour market figures for Scotland, which showed the lowest unemployment in Scotland since the financial crash, are countered by a falling median income, Scottish Labour's Fair Work, Skills and Training spokesperson Neil Findlay has said.

The Office of National Statistics stats show unemployment has dropped below 150,000 for the first time since 2009, and a rise in the number of those employed by 20,000, but Findlay says working people are £1,900 worse off since 2010.

“Low pay has left millions of working families struggling to make ends meet and has led to billions more spent on the housing benefit bill across the UK. A rise in temporary employment, part-time employment and number of people with a second job hints at a worrying rise in underemployment and a lack of job security,” he said.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said the figures were “a strong set of statistics”, but contained no information on the quality and security of the work being created. “The remarkable feature of today’s statistics is the continuing surge in women’s employment in Scotland: women again account for the total rise in employment in the period between October and December and fully 87 per cent of the net new jobs over the past two years. Across the UK as a whole the figure is only 52 per cent,” he said.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the employment figures showed the UK Government’s economic plan was working. “Since 2010 we have cut taxes for business, created incentives for new jobs, tackled the deficit and we are continuing to work to rebalance the economy,” he said.

The Scottish unemployment rate is 5.4 per cent, which is below the rate of 5.7 per cent for the whole of the UK. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the figures demonstrated “a robust, more inclusive and active Scottish workforce.”

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