New figures show Renfrewshire Council initiatives have almost halved unemployment among local people.
Over the last six years the number of Renfrewshire residents claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit has dropped by 43%.
More than 2,000 adults have found work, bringing the overall unemployment rate down to 5.8%. The reduction is most marked amongst young people with the number of 18 to 24 year olds, who are claiming unemployment entitlement, dropping by 60%. Currently there are 620, 18 to 24 year olds out of work, a fall of 920 since 2010.
Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “The massive improvement in the unemployment figures is largely down to the efforts of Renfrewshire Council. Year on year we have been getting people into real jobs with real prospects.
“Our drive to end youth unemployment has paid particular dividends. We’ve seen a 60% drop in the number of 18 to 24 year olds claiming unemployment benefit.
“It is one of the most basic lessons of economics that getting people back into work is the best way to kick-start the economy. People who have jobs, which pay a decent wage, have the means to buy goods and services. This supports and creates other jobs in a virtuous circle.”
Invest in Renfrewshire is one of the key Renfrewshire Council programmes which offers a range of funding packages, designed to boost the local economy and help companies grow.
The business growth fund can pay up to 50% of costs of specific projects, up to a maximum of £10,000 while employer recruitment incentives help businesses meet the costs of hiring an unemployed young person for a new post.
Under the scheme, Invest in Renfrewshire pays 50% of their wage bill, at national minimum wage, for up to 40 hours a week for a maximum of 39 weeks. An extra £1,000 is available for companies paying the Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. Some 900 firms are signed up to the Renfrewshire Recruitment Incentive scheme. The jobs created must be new, additional to existing staff and, importantly, permanent.
Invest in Renfrewshire also matches companies with unemployed graduates, helping businesses benefit from new ideas and skills.
Microloan funding is available to help existing small businesses grow. It offers unsecured loans of between £1,000 and £5,000. The West of Scotland loan fund offers loans of up to £50,000, which can be used for working capital, equipment or property.
Grants of up to £10,000 are available to help retail businesses improve their shop-fronts and interiors and help is also on offer to find new premises.
InCube is another key part of the Invest in Renfrewshire programme. InCube is a business incubator designed to give new businesses the best possible start in life. The services provided by InCube are backed, quite literally, by a shop window for the unique goods created by local entrepreneurs.
The InCube shop itself has revitalised a vacant unit on Paisley’s Gilmour Street and sells textiles, paintings, jewellery, accessories, hats and children’s clothes.