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Scottish unemployment rises to 113,000 triggering £33 million Scottish Government response

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish Government will invest £33 million to help get people back to work as the First Minister said unemployment could be worse than official figures suggest.

It was revealed today that the official Scottish jobless total now stands at 113,000.

Up from 100,000 when figures were last reported three months ago, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the real situation is likely to be worse than it appears as the latest statistics only cover the period until the end of March – just after lockdown measures began to take effect

At today's coronavirus briefing she said the statistics underline the importance of getting the economy up and running again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We know that the public health measures that we've had to take to deal with what is a public health emergency are in themselves creating an economic emergency, and that will have impact on jobs, living standards and inequalities.

“Although the job retention scheme has offered some relief to many employers and employees I am very aware that many people will be right now deeply concerned about the future of their livelihoods.

“That's why we've already allocated more than £2.3 billion to support businesses and protect livelihoods and it is of course why we have welcomed so warmly many of the measures taken by the UK government, including the job retention scheme.

“Skills Development Scotland has expanded its support for people seeking training or employment by establishing a phone line and online service. The new online service, which highlights links to free courses which are available, has received 120,000 visitors since it launched just over three weeks ago today.

“Today we are taking further action to tackle the employment challenge created by Covid-19.

"Our enterprise and skills strategic board, which was first established two and half years ago, will now co-ordinate rapid action across the enterprise and skills agencies.

“In doing so, it will ensure our actions now are helping to equip people with the skills they need for the future. It will report back to us in June on what additional measures we need to take.

“However I can confirm today we will be investing a further £33 million to support people to get back to work as we gradually get the economy opened up again, most of which will be allocated to Fair Start Scotland which is our devolved employability service to help those most adversely affected in times of economic hardship.”

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