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Falkirk workers’ wages rise but number claiming benefits remains high

While the median wage figure has gone up on last year, many are still on low wages in the district. Picture: Michael Gillen (133268)

While the median wage figure has gone up on last year, many are still on low wages in the district. Picture: Michael Gillen (133268)

 

Wages in Falkirk have risen to over £500 a week but there are still more people claiming benefits in the district than the rest of the country.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the median gross weekly wage in the area for 2013 was £507.20 compared to £477.40 the previous year and £384.70 a decade ago.

According to the ONS figures, the median weekly wage for full-time male workers is £533.10 while female workers are on £451.50. Both are lower than the Scottish median wage.

While this does not mean that most workers in the district, out of a local workforce of 74,600, will earn this amount, it does signal that wages for local people have gone up in the last year, although a drop in unemployment could partly account for the rise.

The number of those out of work also fell from last year with 15,950 claiming benefits, down from 16,700 in 2012. People claiming Jobseekers Allowance also fell from 4360 in 2012 to 3930 last year.

But while the number of unemployed has decreased for some benefits, it has gone up for others with 90 more people claiming the carers allowance and disability claims rising by 40. The number of people claiming for ‘key out-of-work’ benefits fell by 870, but figures show that there are 0.5 per cent more people per resident population of area (3.9 per cent) claiming Jobseekers Allowance than the Scottish number.

Lorna Binnie, who chairs Falkirk Trades Union Council, said: “While it is clear some people are still doing well despite the economic climate, far too many are being left behind, forced to work on low wages or still feeling the effects of wage cuts and freezes.

“We need to pay people properly if we want to boost the economy and get the country working.”

A spokesman for Falkirk Council said: “We work with new and existing employers across a number of areas to improve employment prospects for the local population.”

 

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