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West Lothian bucks the trend with lower unemployment levels

Engineer-virologist Thomas Mollet looks at 24 well plates adherent cells monolayer infected with a Sars-CoV-2 virus at the Biosafety level 3 laboratory (BSL3) of the Valneva SE Group headquarters. West Lothian is home to a growing life science industry

West Lothian is bucking the trend in the face of harsh economic conditions with lower levels of unemployment than Scotland or the UK as a whole.

And while many are struggling in times of wage restraints and inflation the council’s business development team has helped 300 new firms set up and is helping to up-skill and retrain the workforce.

The council's Invest in West Lothian website is a “shop window” to generate new green industry jobs.

Jim Henderson, the council’s Business Development Manager gave an update of the work of the council’s Business Gateway team to a recent meeting of the East Livingston and East Calder Local Area Committee.

The unemployment rate for West Lothian for August this year was 2.7%, which is below the Scottish average of 3.2% and the UK average of 3.7%.

Mr Henderson told the meeting: “It’s worth clarifying that for West Lothian in general the labour market is in a good place. West Lothian has a lower rate of unemployment than the Scotland average, at half a percentage point , and a full percentage point below the UK.

“Although these are small percentage numbers they represent local residents, so every full percentage point represents 1,000 people. So it is important that we analyse closely where we are , and do the very best that we can.

“I would say West Lothian has a lower rate of unemployment than neighbouring areas so we aim to maintain that. There are clearly challenges around wage rates, child poverty and food and fuel insecurity, but we can help.”

The Business Gateway Team provides confidential and impartial support to residents looking to start up in business. It also supports local firms with strategic development and promotes retraining and up-skilling. In the last year it has helped 300 new businesses set up

Mr Henderson pointed out that West Lothian is in a better position than many areas because of the decades of work put into developing partnerships with local businesses to promote better paid employment in the area.

To read the full story on Edinburgh Live, click here.

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West Lothian Council

The West Lothian Council News Editor.

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