Claimant numbers continue to rise

JobCentre Plus in Peterhead
JobCentre Plus in Peterhead

The number of people claiming benefits in Buchan continues to rise, going against the grain with the trend seen across the country.

In February 2016, 1110 people claimed benefits in the region, which is up 73% on the number in the corresponding month last year; in February 2015, there were 470 benefit claimants.

Aberdeenshire as a whole fared even worse as the increase is at 88%, with 2285 claiming benefits compared to 1215 the previous year.

The amount of claimants in Aberdeenshire has been steadily increasing over past year, with the downturn in the oil and gas sector blamed as a key component in the problem.

The number is ‘bucking the trend’ with the rest of the country; there are over 2000 less claimants than there was in the previous month.

Alan Kane, operations manager for JobCentre Plus said: “The numbers are linked to the oil and gas decline, and some job losses are linked to services to the oil industry that are suffering as a result.”

He highlighted that the JobCentre have held seminars with people in Peterhead and Fraserburgh who have lost their job in the oil industry recently with an aim to finding them suitable work in a similar industry.

“It is something we can help them with and not just topping up qualifications,” Mr Kane said.

He added that people out of work should use the facilities available to them through the JobCentre, as the advisors are there to “get people back to work”.

Talking about the overall Scottish figures, employment minister Priti Patel said: “With unemployment now standing at half the Eurozone average, it’s clear that we are delivering on our promise .”