South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that the total number of people claiming benefits and looking for work in Dumfries and Galloway has risen by 650 in just one year.

The latest figures published by the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in November this year there were 2,130 people in Dumfries and Galloway claiming out of work benefits. This is an increase of 45 people from October and an increase of 650 from November last year.

The rise in the jobless total across the region follows a number of economic shocks to face Dumfries and Galloway over the past 12 months including the closure of the Pinney’s factory in Annan, the move of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Headquarters from Langholm to Carlisle and the closure of Castle Douglas’ M Corson Bakery.

Colin Smyth has lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament in a bid to secure a parliamentary debate on the local economy.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “We have seen a number of economic shocks to our local economy this year in Dumfries and Galloway. Our region remains the lowest paid in the whole of the UK and we face an extra 650 local people spending this Christmas looking for work compared to this time last year. We need to see urgent action from both the Scottish and UK Government’s to reverse the continual increase in unemployment here in Dumfries and Galloway. Our region is simply being forgotten about by Government’s in London and Edinburgh”.

“That is why I have lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament to try to secure a debate in Parliament on our local economy. I would encourage MSP’s of all parties to support my motion to allow us to secure a Parliamentary debate and ensure both the Scottish and UK Government take immediate steps to grow our local economy and create high skilled jobs”.