THE number of people out of work in Scotland soared by 20% in the three months to the end of July, new figures show.

The figures reveal that unemployment rose by 19,000 during the quarter, to stand at a total of 110,000, a rate of 4% compared to 3.8% in the UK as a whole. The number of Scots in work fell by 33,000 to 2,669,000.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack admitted the rise was “disappointing”. He said: “The UK Government is investing £1.4 billion in city and growth deals and is preparing to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise when we leave the EU on October 31.

“But I would urge the Scottish Government to use its powers to best effect. Making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK and creating uncertainty by threatening a second independence referendum are holding Scotland back.”

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The increasing likeliness of a No-Deal Brexit remains the biggest threat to jobs, businesses and our economy. The Scottish Government will work as hard as we can to mitigate its impact.

“Our Future Skills Action Plan is one of the actions we are taking to help ensure Scotland has a skilled and productive workforce which is resilient to future economic challenges.”