Surge in number of people out of work across Falkirk district

The number of people claiming Universal Credit in Falkirk has risen to more than 11,000 since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

By Kirsty Paterson
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 5:58 pm

The area has also seen a rise of 66.6 per cent in unemployment claimants between March and April 2020 while youth unemployment figures have doubled from 655 (5.35 per cent) in March 2020 to 1250 in June 2020 (10.1 per cent).

The grim statistics will be reported to Falkirk Council’s executive committee today (Thursday) as it looks at an economic recovery plan for the district.

Since the onset of the pandemic companies including Alexander Dennis Ltd, Marshall’s and Campbell’s Prime Meat have announced redundancies.

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Unemployment is on the rise in Falkirk district

The pandemic has also had an effect on the district’s town centres, creating more trading difficulties where many businesses were already struggling.

Members of Falkirk Council’s executive will be asked to look at ways in which the council can boost jobs, in particular by accessing funding to help local businesses.

There are a number of Scottish Government schemes that the council will hope to be part of including a ‘Youth Guarantee’ scheme giving young people the guarantee of a job, education or formal training; a £25 million fund to provide retraining for 10,000 people who have lost their jobs or are at risk of doing so; £1.6 billion Green New Deal including measures to decarbonise the way homes and buildings are heated; and a £100 million green jobs fund.

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “We cannot under-estimate the impact the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has had on economies around the world. We know our local economy has suffered. It’s clear from our business survey that our local economy has been hit hard financially with just over 72 per cent of respondents saying they had lost income this year.

“The economic recovery plan aims to support local businesses to recover fully from the impact of Covid-19 over the next two years by investing in skills and employment support, targeting national support for recovery and improving our local infrastructure.

“Through the Falkirk Economic Partnership we have already started to work on helping our local economy recover.”

“This work looks to create capacity for renewal and growth, building on the plans for the Investment Zone and a Growth Deal bid which has secured £90 million of UK and Scottish Government funding for the area.”