Unemployment figures down by 20 per cent
But more has to be done say campaigners
Unemployment in Rutherglen and Cambuslang fell by 20 per cent in 2015, as 220 fewer people signed on in January 2016 when compared to the same period last year.
Figures published by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) show the number of people claiming universal credit and jobseeker’s allowance in the two towns is 1,120.
Across South Lanarkshire unemployment fell from 5,515 to 4,390 in the 12 months to January 2016, also a decrease of 20 per cent.
In Rutherglen specifically unemployment fell from 580 to 465 and in Cambuslang from 540 to 410.
The Department of Work Pensions said the fall in unemployment by a fifth was the result of improvements in the wider economy.
Stuart Mitchell, DWP universal credit partnership manager for South Lanarkshire, said there is “more work” available for locals.
“It’s reflective of the labour market at the moment, there are vacancies out there,” Mr Mitchell said. “We are working hard with employers to match candidates to those roles.”
But anti-poverty campaigners say it is not enough to purely focus on jobless numbers, but to look at how many people are on zero-hours contracts, in part- time roles and doing low paid work.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance said: “While a fall in unemployment figures is to be welcomed, we need to look beyond the numbers.
“It is important that the jobs we are creating in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are high quality and well paid.
“With over half of children living in poverty in Scotland in a household where someone works, paying the living wage has never been more important.
“However, the living wage is only one aspect of a wider range of measures needed to tackle in work poverty.
“We also need to look at the use of zero hours contracts, and how we ensure more workplaces are unionised.
“More must be done to ensure that everyone gets paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”.
Whilst unemployment fell considerably in 2015, there was a hike in the jobless number in January as Christmas contracts come to an end.
A total of 50 Rutherglen people lost their job between December 2015 and January 2016, and a further 35 in Cambuslang.
The DWP said the figures were “normal” for this time of year.
Across Scotland the unemployment rate is currently 5.8 per cent, higher than the UK average of 4.3 per cent.