A north-east MP has claimed the true level of unemployment in Aberdeenshire may be masked by unclaimed benefit.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, elected in May, is now a member of Westminster’s work and pensions committee and said he is investigating.
The Conservative MP said he has submitted questions to the House of Commons library to try and uncover whether true levels of unemployment following the downturn are clear.
He said: “There is a food bank in Banchory, one of the richest parts of the country, but official figures show there are only 30 people claiming out of work benefits.
“I find it unbelievable we have 1.7% unemployment when so many are employed in oil and gas.
“I think there are people struggling and, for whatever reason, failing to get the appropriate support.”
Speaking at the UK Conservative conference in Manchester, Mr Bowie said he wanted to see if there was a solution to help families who could be in need.
He said: “We need to work out what’s happening if people are slipping through the net.
“We have always believed the welfare state should offer that safety net and look at how we can combat people not claiming the support they are entitled to.”
He added he also wanted to support efforts to diversify employment in the area away from a reliance on oil and gas, and backed Ruth Davidson’s call for more civil service jobs to come to Scotland.