Almost 7,000 from people across the north-east have had emergency support after being made redundant, new figures have shown.
Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Liam Kerr obtained the figures in a response from Scottish Government cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop, which show the number of workers who have been forced to contact PACE during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) group was set up to help people facing losing their employment in Scotland.
Mr Kerr said the shocking figures, which are highest in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, must prompt First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “finally take notice” of the struggle faced in the region.
Between April and July, the data shows that more than 5,100 workers from 70 different employers in Aberdeen asked for help from the initiative, which has been set up to respond to redundancy situations.
The highest number of calls were recorded in May, where 2,155 people from 25 employers got in touch.
In the same period in Aberdeenshire, a total of 1,762 workers contacted the scheme, from 27 workplaces. June was the busiest month, where 783 individuals from 13 different employers contacted the initiative looking for advice.
Mr Kerr said the statistics were evidence that more financial support is needed for businesses in the north-east.
He added: “If these figures don’t act as a wake-up call to the SNP Government about how hard-hit workers in the north-east have been during this pandemic then I don’t know what will.
“In Aberdeen, more than five times the number of workers facing redundancy are seeking help than in other parts of Scotland – it’s extremely alarming and is further evidence that more help is needed for the north-east now – not later.
“The coronavirus pandemic has clearly hit the north-east hard and following a second lockdown, our region continues to be hammered which is why additional support needs to be given.
“Workers and employers must be the main focus in helping rebuild our economy in the north-east.
“Many people in the north-east already feel Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP Government continually favour the central belt over the north-east and this must stop – our region and industries are being decimated and these figures illustrate the extent of that.”
Fewer people from Moray needed help with only four employers and 41 employees getting in touch for support.
In Angus, there were 94 individuals from four companies seeking advice from PACE.