RENFREW men have been one of the hardest hit groups in the country during the coronavirus pandemic, with the number on Universal Credit more than doubling since March.

There has been a rise of 114 per cent in men receiving the benefits between March 12 and May 14, according to latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.

A total of 2,697 Renfrew residents received payments – up by 95 per cent from the previous level of 1,383.

In Johnstone, 2,149 residents claimed UC in March but this rocketed to 3,804 by May – a rise of 77 per cent.

Again, men were hit harder, with a 95 per cent jump, compared to 62 per cent for women.

Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur said: “This public health crisis has also led to an economic crisis and exposed people to hardship that hasn’t previously been felt.

“It is vital that support is given to people and industries that are feeling the impact and that talents and skills are repurposed.

“I have raised this issue with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and asked that support is given to businesses to help them repurpose, utilising skills and retaining talent.

“As we emerge into our new normal, we need an investment in our economy not seen since the Second World War to help support our businesses and improve employment prospects.”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said the figures don’t tell the story of the “stress, anxiety and devastating impact” each job loss has on those involved.

He added: “The gender gap that appears from the figures is concerning and likely reflects the industries and businesses that are being hardest hit – such as aviation – which have been disproportionately male.

“I worry that the skills and high-quality jobs we face losing will be hard to replace and that means we need a positive programme of investment to support areas that are being hardest hit economically by the coronavirus crisis, such as Renfrewshire.

“The establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District at Inchinnan by Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government shows the potential our area has to create high-skill, high-value jobs of the kind we desperately need.”

Support is available from Renfrewshire Council’s jobs and employability team. For details, call 0300 300 1180 or email

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


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