Unemployment falling in area
But in-work homes still fight poverty
Unemployment in Rutherglen and Cambuslang has dropped 16.5 per cent since the introduction of Universal Credit one year ago.
Statistics, released on the first anniversary of the shake- up of the welfare system, show 885 people in the two towns are currently unemployed - 175 fewer than in August 2015.
But anti-poverty campaigners say employment is no-longer a route out of poverty as the number of struggling in-work households continues to soar.
In Rutherglen unemployment fell by 135 in the past 12 months, whilst Cambuslang recorded a drop of just 35.
Across the two towns unemployment dropped from 1,060 in August 2015 to 886 in August 2016.
The area accounts for 18.4 per cent of all unemployed people in South Lanarkshire.
The fall in unemployment has been welcomed by Margaret Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
However, she says that more needs to be done to address poverty crippling both those in work and on welfare benefits. Ms Ferrier said: “Though encouraging, higher employment levels are just one step in the right direction towards tackling poverty.
“Many people are still just one pay cheque away from a crisis - a situation that could get worse as we face the prospect of higher living costs as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
“The Trussell Trust recently opened their 50th foodbank in Scotland.
“This shows the grim reality of Tory austerity and welfare cuts, which takes funds away from public services, communities and families, the poorest and most vulnerable in order to fund tax breaks for millionaires – a policy completely incompatible with Scotland’s progressive values and outlook.”
Sharon Hampson, manager of Cambuslang’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, said her organisation has seen a huge increase in hardship for people who are working.
She said: “From April to the beginning of September the number of people coming to see us about working tax credits and council tax credits rose by 90 per cent.
“In the same period we saw a 21 per cent increase in food bank referrals.
“This isn’t just people out of work. We are talking about working families with full time jobs and salaries but with rent or mortgages to pay.”
Universal Credit has been gradually rolled out to communities across the UK and will eventually replace six benefits for people out of work or on a low income.
It sees a person’s benefits, such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, housing benefit and child tax credits, combined into one monthly payment.