UNEMPLOYMENT figures in the Borders have shown small signs of improvement, although they remain significantly higher than before the pandemic according to UK Parliament statistics.

There were 120 less people claiming employment related benefits last month compared to September 2020, but the overall October figure of 3,002 is still 1,325 higher than in March, when the country went into lockdown.

The figures include those who were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit last month.

The number of working age people in the Borders claiming employment benefits in October stood at 5.4 per cent, 0.6 per cent lower than the average in Scotland.

READ MORE: Free parking in Borders over festive period approved by council committee

A marginal improvement was seen in younger people seeking employment benefits.

The total number of young people aged between 16-24 claiming help stood at 690 in October, 15 less than in September.

However, the October figure is over double what it was in March (305).

John Lamont, Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, says it has been a “very tough year” for jobs and businesses due to coronavirus restrictions.

“Sadly, the number of people who are unemployed is almost double that of before lockdown which really highlights the problems businesses have been facing this year,” he said.

READ MORE: Newspaper service is launched in Clovenfords

“However, perhaps we are starting to see the first green shoots of growth with a small decrease in the unemployment figures.

“But there is still a long way to go. With restrictions set to continue for many months to come there will be no quick fixes.

“UK Government schemes such as furlough have provided job security for thousands in the Borders and will do so until March.

“However, it is clear that governments of all levels need to work together on a plan to ensure rural areas like the Borders can build back better.”

The employment figures relate to the parliamentary constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, which covers most of the Borders.