INVERCLYDE'S overall unemployment claimant rate has fallen to its lowest level since before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Official figures released by the Office for National Statistics show a claimant count of 1,740, or 3.6 per cent of the area’s working-age population.

The statistics involve those claiming unemployment related benefits, including people on jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit and required to seek work.

The MP for Inverclyde Ronnie Cowan says the stats are encouraging but there can be no room for complacency.

He said: “The pandemic could have put us back years. Instead we have seen a significant bounce back to a place that is better than before and I want to see that trend continue.

"In September our claimant rate dropped below the UK average and we have seen a significant closing of the gap in the claimant rate between young people in Inverclyde and the UK average.

"But I know that more needs to be done. I want to see businesses being given every chance to succeed, and I'll be visiting large and small businesses alike across the constituency in 2024.

"Most of all I want to see our young people have the opportunity to learn new tech skills and take up apprenticeships."