There are six unemployed people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance for every advertised vacancy in Shetland and Orkney, it is being claimed.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show 53 unfilled vacancies across the Northern Isles, with 294 people currently claiming the allowance.
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said while unemployment rates in his area were lower than the rest of the country, the figures showed there was no room for complacency.
He said: “We know that many people who lose their job in Orkney or Shetland do not show in local figures as they will simply leave the Isles to find work elsewhere. Many local people also rely on a combination of part time jobs and/or seasonal employment. This too can distort figures.
“The difference between the number of jobs available and the number of people chasing them is in stark contrast to recent comments from Gordon Brown and other government ministers above the availability of jobs.”
Mr Carmichael said there was growing evidence that the main measure taken by the government to stimulate economic growth and recovery – a temporary cut in VAT – had not achieved what the government wanted from it.
The government should now revisit that decision re-focus its attention on measures to boost consumer confidence and economic growth, he said.
“The Northern Isles economy is built predominantly on small and medium sized enterprises; these businesses have a different range of costs from many others and require different solutions.