Unemployment in East Dunbartonshire fell for the third month in a row in November.
Jo welcomed the news in Parliament this week, but warned that it may not become an on-going trend. She called on the Government to do more to get banks lending to small businesses again.
In November, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in East Dunbartonshire fell to 1142, from 1160 in October. The number peaked in August at 1244 people.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Naturally I am pleased that the number of people unemployed in East Dunbartonshire has fallen for a third month in a row, and I hope this continues.
“However, it is not encouraging that the Government is not using its authority as a major shareholder in several of the UK’s biggest banks to get them lending to small businesses at reasonable rates. The Chancellor continues to insist this is a decision for the banks and not the Government, but taxpayers have bailed out the banks and now expect some help in return.
“President Obama has publicly told American banks they must free up credit for small businesses, and there is no reason why the British Government cannot do the same.”
In a speech in Parliament this week, Jo said:
“Obviously, the recession has been one of the biggest problems that my constituents have faced, and I am sure that the same is true for the constituents of many, if not all, hon. Members. It has had a tremendous impact: I have spent a lot time speaking to local businesses in my constituency, and I continue to be very frustrated by the stories that I hear from viable concerns-the ones with sound order books that would be able to get through the recession if it were not for the threats hanging over them. Those threats include the possibility that their banks might suddenly withdraw credit, or charge huge interest on overdrafts.
“Like many hon. Members, I have made many representations to the Chancellor about those threats, but it seems that the Government are unwilling to use their influence, even with those banks in which the state is a major shareholder, to get the banks lending to viable businesses. Some of the companies in my constituency have gone to the wall, with people made redundant as a result, and I would hate to see more viable businesses that could survive the recession having to suffer the same fate…
“On a slightly more positive note, there has been good news on the unemployment figures in my constituency of East Dunbartonshire: a slight drop has been recorded in the past two months. I hope that that is a trend but fear that it may not be, as we all know that unemployment tends to be a lagging indicator in recessions. There could be more pain to come, especially given that there may be future strictures on the public sector.”