Universal Credit applications across the north-east are continuing to rise, with the most recent figures showing a more than 120% rise.
In Aberdeen, the number of job-seeking claimants at the end of January was sitting at 9,302, an increase of 5,158 compared to the same period last year – a 124% rise. Of those, 1,575 were people aged between 18 and 24, which is a 127% rise on the year before.
In Aberdeenshire, the number of job-seeking claimants on Universal Credit at the end of January stood at 6,440 – an increase of 3,578 or 125% rise on the year before.
Of those, 1,101 are aged between 18 and 24, which is a 104% rise on the year before.
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “Today’s figures highlight the challenges facing us on our road to recovery, but there is reason for optimism with more workers on payrolls and over half a million vacancies out there.
“The UK Government’s Plan for Jobs is delivering for people of all ages right across Scotland and the rest of country – and with the recruitment of over 800 Work Coaches and the launch of our £22m Job-Entry Targeted Support, we’re helping even more Scots back into work as we push to build back better.”
Across Scotland, there are 114,000 people unemployed, a 4,000 decrease on the quarter.
In Aberdeen, the job centre has been focusing on the Kickstart scheme, with a variety of positions in different sectors being advertised to those aged between 16 and 24.
A DWP spokeswoman added: “The Job Entry Targeted Support and Job Finding Support initiatives are also proving popular, with a steady uptake on this provision, we are also focusing on Cyber security and Digital awareness courses and are working continuously with both the Care and Construction sectors to provide upskilling for our customers to enable them an easy transition to both these sectors
“Other initiatives are planned for the Hospitality & Retails sectors and these will commence prior to the move forward with facilities reopening.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack added: “Yesterday marked one year since the UK went into lockdown, and we know that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the labour market.
“These figures show the scale of the challenge we face to rebuild our economy – and throws into sharp relief just how irresponsible it is of the Scottish Government to prioritise planning for an independence referendum over securing our economic recovery. We need to focus on creating and protecting jobs.
“Over the past year, the UK Government has taken decisive action to support jobs and livelihoods across the whole of the UK. In the 2021 Budget, we pledged to take these measures further – extending furlough, self-employed schemes, the Universal Credit uplift and VAT cuts for the hardest-hit sectors. We have committed to provide the Scottish Government with an additional £14 billion since the start of the pandemic.
“As the success of the UK Government-funded vaccine programme allows us to plan for the gradual re-opening of our economy, the strength and stability provided by the Union has never been more important.”