Scottish First Minister urges action to tackle unemployment

2012-11-14 14:35:32 GMT2012-11-14 22:35:32(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

EDINBURGH, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond on Wednesday called for urgent actions to tackle unemployment and stimulate growth after the Office for National Statistics in London published labor market figures.

The headline unemployment level in Scotland rose by 4,000 over the July-September period and the jobless rate climbed to 8.1 percent, compared with a nationwide rate of 7.8 percent in Britain, according to official statistics.

Scotland's youth employment rate remained higher than the national level, the Scottish government said in a press release, but unemployment rate among the young still increased by 0.4 percentage point to 23.5 percent in the third quarter.

Salmond said that the latest labor market figures showed it was becoming ever more critical for British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to take "meaningful action" to bring jobs and growth to the UK economy.

He reiterated the Scottish government's efforts to stimulate Scotland's economy and protect families, businesses and frontline services with a draft budget for further investment in construction, skills and green economy, alongside additional 40 million pounds (63 million U.S. dollars) for affordable housing and funding for more new school buildings.

"And we are helping small- and medium-sized businesses create up to 10,000 (job) opportunities through a national employer recruitment initiative," said the Scottish First Minister, who added that tackling youth unemployment was a top priority for the Scottish government.

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