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Coronavirus / Northern Isles unemployment figures double

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has described the latest unemployment figures for the Northern Isles as “a warning we cannot afford to ignore”.

Figures just published show that the number of people registered unemployed on the Northern Isles more than doubled from 395 in April 2019 to 825 claimants in April 2020.

Alistair CarmichaelNorthern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

This figure is 430 higher than April last year and an increase of 260 from March.

This represents an unemployment rate of three per cent in Orkney and Shetland, still significantly below the overall rate of 5.1 per cent, but a first sign of things to come.

Carmichael said: “The latest unemployment claimant figures are a troubling sign of the economic impact of coronavirus. This is a warning of what may be to come and one that we cannot afford to ignore.

“We are fortunate in the isles to continue to have a relatively low rate of unemployment, but that is no reason for complacency.  The jump in figures is a reminder of the long-term impact we face and the need for a recovery plan that looks to the future.”

The Lib Dem MP continued: “The economic hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak will take time to repair.  Millions of people are still not getting the help they need and too many are still falling through gaps in the support schemes.

“If we are to recover from the economic crisis the government must do more to shore-up support for the self-employed and sectors that will bear the brunt of the coronavirus longest, such as tourism. Protecting livelihoods begins by protecting people’s jobs.”