John Lamont MP has warned of the devastating economic consequences of coronavirus as claimant figures soar in the Borders.
In April, there were 2885 claimants of Universal Credit. This was 1335 higher than in the same month last year.
The figures also show young people losing out as the economic hit of the coronavirus takes hold. There were 555 claimants aged 18-24, 215 higher than April 2019.
The figures relate to the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk parliamentary constituency which covers most of the Scottish Borders.
John Lamont MP commented: “It is no shock that we have seen the impact of COVID-19 demonstrated in these figures. No business or organisation is untouched by the problems caused by this terrible virus.
“Unfortunately, I fear there will be more bad news to come. Both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Minister of Scotland have warned of the problems ahead.
“It is vital that our economy can reopen as soon it is safe and practicable to do so. I know that the economic measures such as the Job retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme have been a lifeline for many. But these unfortunately cannot go on forever.”
Secretary of State for Scotland, Rt Hon Alister Jack MP said: “As expected, the impact of COVID-19 is now starting to show in the labour market statistics and will do for some time to come. Rest assured that the UK Government is doing everything in its power to protect the livelihoods of Scottish people during this unprecedented pandemic and will continue to do so.
“Our Job Retention Scheme has ensured thousands of people in Scotland continue to get paid while they are unable to work and this is in addition to the £3.7 billion package already given to Holyrood to help them tackle the crisis. These actions mean the UK economy will be able to bounce back when circumstances allow.”