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Job fears highest in north-east as furlough winds down

People in the north-east are more likely to be worried about their jobs.

People in the north-east of Scotland are the most worried about their future employment, according to a poll.

The findings, which take in Dundee and Aberdeen, reveal anxiety about jobs on the day the UK Government wage support is scaled back.

The scheme, known as furlough, was brought in to protect jobs in the first lockdown but is due to end this autumn.

An opinion poll carried out by Survation suggests 42% of people in the north-east are either “very” or “quite” worried about their jobs. It compares with 35 per cent on average across Scotland. compared with 35% on average across Scotland.

People aged 16 to 34 are most worried, also at 42%. The polls suggests 38% of women are worried compared with 31% of men.

The findings were commissioned by the Advice Direct Scotland service, which offers help on issues including employment.

‘Worry about end of furlough’

Chief executive Andrew Bartlett said: “These findings highlight the concerns faced by many Scots about their job. It’s particularly alarming to see such high figures among women, the young, and people in the north-east.

“The Covid pandemic caused massive economic turmoil, but many jobs have been protected as a result of the furlough scheme or grants. With the end of those schemes in sight, it’s likely that many workers will be increasingly worried.”

The Conservative government decision to wind down furlough was meanwhile branded a “dereliction of duty” by political opponents. Scotland’s finance secretary, Kate Forbes, said businesses still need “hard cash” to keep them going in this stage of the recovery.

business support
Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes

The poll was based on 1,006 people aged over 16 in Scotland.

Despite the higher level of concern in the north-east, the overall results show 63% of people in Scotland are “not worried”.

By Holyrood parliamentary region, the polls reveals the level of concern for jobs at:

  • 33% in Highlands and Islands
  • 30% in Mid Scotland and Fife
  • 42% in North East Scotland
  • 30% in Lothian
  • 34% in South Scotland
  • 38% in Glasgow
  • 34% in West Scotland
  • 37% in Central Scotland

The UK  Department for Work and Pensions published figures in May which underlined the employment problems facing the north-east, a region hit by the pandemic, retail closures like John Lewis pulling out of Aberdeen, and the downturn in oil and gas.

Official confirmed the “alternative claimant count” for benefits in Aberdeen increased to 9,394 in April, an increase of 5,000, or 114%, on the same period a year ago.

Under the same measure, the register of job-seeking claimants in Aberdeenshire hit 6,504  people during April, an increase of 3,460, or 114%, compared with a year ago.

Within the total figures, the number of 18-24-year-old claimants in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire was up by 112% to 1,562 and 106% to 662 respectively.

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