The SNP has said the Chancellor must do more to “get a grip” of the growing Tory UK unemployment crisis – as new figures reveal rising UK unemployment and record redundancies.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Market Survey, published this morning, revealed the UK unemployment rate has risen to 4.8%, with 782,000 fewer people in employment since March, and the number of redundancies at a record high of 314,000 – a record increase of 181,000 on the quarter.

In Scotland, the employment rate estimate rose over the quarter to 74.0% and the unemployment rate estimate was unchanged over the quarter at 4.5%. 

The Scottish Government has announced additional support including a £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee, to ensure everyone aged between 16 and 24 has the opportunity of work, education or training, and a £25 million National Transition Training Fund to help up to 10,000 people aged 25 and over, who have lost their jobs or are at risk of redundancy, to develop the skills required to move into sectors with the greatest potential for growth.

Commenting, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The Chancellor must get a grip of the growing Tory UK unemployment crisis – and do more to protect people’s jobs, businesses and incomes.

“The SNP has been warning for months that the UK faces a winter of mass redundancies if the Tory government fails to act – and the evidence is now demonstrating that fact. For many, the long-overdue Tory U-turn on furlough cuts came far too late – causing thousands to lose their jobs unnecessarily and forcing many good businesses to go under.

“With UK unemployment rising, and redundancies at record levels, it’s crucial the Tory government urgently fixes the gaps, which have seen millions excluded, and delivers meaningful investment to stimulate the economy, support businesses, and boost people’s incomes – including making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to legacy benefits.

“We cannot afford a return to the lasting social damage that Tory mass unemployment in the 1980s and 1990s caused to communities across the UK. Millions have already seen their incomes slashed and many more jobs could be lost if action isn’t taken now.

“In Scotland, the SNP government is taking the action it can, including by introducing the £60million Young Person’s Guarantee, the £25 million National Transition Training Fund, and continued support for businesses and workers – but with the full economic powers of an independent country we could do so much more.

“Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act. By withholding investment and blocking the devolution of financial powers, the Tory government has hindered Scotland’s ability to respond to this crisis. It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is to become an independent country.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, who has long been critical of the UK Government’s disregard for Scotland, said:

“Frankly, at this point I don’t think the people of Scotland need any more reason to have no faith in the UK Government.

“The constant confusion, lack of clarity and yoyo-ing on critical decisions is abysmal and now it is affecting real people and real jobs. The time it took Boris and his cronies to extend the furlough scheme has been far too late for thousands of workers and that is just not acceptable – especially when people in our town suffer at their expense.

“For too long the people of Paisley have been let down by Westminster and to play politics during a global pandemic is just not on in my book. The Scottish Government are doing all they can to mitigate the real impact COVID-19 and the necessary restrictions are having on peoples’ lives – but unfortunately they’re having to do this with one hand tied being their back.

“Westminster need to act now or let the Scottish Government have full control over its own finances and resources so they can continue to act in the best interests of the Scottish people and do what’s right.”