Shelter Scotland warns against ‘wave of homelessness’ as unemployment rises
Shelter Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to “act swiftly” to extend eviction protections after new figures revealed a decrease in the number of Scots in employment and high numbers of income support.
The latest Labour Market Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that unemployment in Scotland rose to 4.3% between March and May as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions hit the jobs market hard.
The rise in unemployment marked a 0.6% increase on the previous quarter and was higher than the UK unemployment rate of 3.9%.
However, yesterday’s figures do not include nearly 750,000 Scottish workers who were enrolled on the UK Government’s furlough scheme during that time.
The ONS also revealed that the number of Scots seeking jobs increased by 15,000 to reach 120,000. Twice as many left the jobs market and were not looking for work.
The figures also highlighted a drastic decline of nearly 17% in the number of hours worked in May across the UK. After inflation, average pay dropped by 1.3%.
Shelter Scotland assistant director, communications and advocacy, Gordon MacRae, said rising unemployment “must not be allowed to create a wave of homelessness”.
He added: “The Scottish Government has committed in principle to extending the protections from eviction keeping people off the streets. They must now act swiftly to progress and implement these measures, which will reassure people who are worried about losing their homes.
“Going forward, we need urgent investment in social housebuilding. This will stimulate the economy, protect and create jobs, and provide homes to those in greatest need.”
The call echoes that from a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) which urged the Scottish Government to act quickly to avoid a potential autumn spike in evictions as financial strains take hold on households across the country.