A KIRKCALDY MP has called for clarification on new statistics which appear to show a ‘worrying’ rise in the number of young people out of work in Fife.
Gordon Brown has asked the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to take a closer look at the figures which alarmingly suggest more than 4000 teenagers in the Kingdom were unemployed between April 2010 and March 2011.
This compares with 2000 young people out of work the previous year.
He has written to the ONS asking for an explanation as to why the number is so high.
The move comes as Fife Council received figures from the same organisation which claim the level of youth unemployment in the Kingdom has dropped for the third month in a row.
The local authority said that from its peak in August 2011, the current statistics showed over 750 Fife youngsters aged between 16 and 24 had moved into a either a job, training or further education.
It said the figures revealed the number of Jobseekers Allowance claimants aged between 16 and 24 in Fife had fallen by over 19 per cent in the last three months, compared to 13 per cent in Scotland and one per cent in the UK.
But Mr Brown stressed that if the statistics he obtained are correct, there will be hard times ahead for young jobseekers.
He said: “We know that young people face poor prospects in 2011 and 2012 but the picture presented in these official figures is very worrying.
“It would suggest Fife is facing a very difficult situation.
‘‘This may be a statistical error but I would like the Government to explain them.
‘’I have written to the Office for National Statistics asking for an explanation.”
He added: “In 2012 we must do all we can to support people losing their jobs find alternative work. It will be crucial that everyone works together to ensure today’s generation of young people are not cast aside and there are training, skills and job opportunities available to secure a strong and secure future.”
Mr Brown met with groups of local young people recently to discuss their concerns around jobs and training.
He fears further education cuts will damage prospects for teenagers.
The town MP said there needs to be better opportunities for school-leavers and more help to get the young unemployed into work to halt an epidemic of long term unemployment.
He added: “There is no doubt that firms have been recruiting less, the Council has laid off a number of workers and there is uncertainty in the air for so many more in public and private sectors.
“I have always said our first priority is to make sure more jobs are created and there are good opportunities for young people.”
Meanwhile, local Labour MP Lindsay Roy has given his support to a petition protesting against unemployment.
Mr Roy said: “There are many young people in my area who are desperate for a job.
‘‘They are not malingerers, they don’t want to be unemployed, but there is simply no work for them.”