HARTLEPOOL has topped a national league of shame with the highest proportion of jobless young people in the country.
Almost one in five people aged between 18 and 25 in the town claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance last month.
Hartlepool has 1,425 people in the age group claiming the benefit, which tops the national table at 17.1 per cent of all 18 to 25-year-olds in the town, and is a rise of 75 between July and August.
The Easington constituency area also figures high in the table at 13th, with 1,250 people in the age group claiming the benefit, which accounts for 14.3 per cent.
Nationally a surge in jobless youths has triggered the largest increase in unemployment in almost two years.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said boosting employment in the town is the top priority as it has a knock on effect on issues like health and wellbeing.
He said Hartlepool’s inclusion in the new Tees Valley Enterprise Zone could improve joblessness if firms can be attracted to open up in the town and Hartlepool College of Further Education is running apprenticeship training to help young people.
Mayor Drummond told the Mail: “What’s starting to become evident now is that because of the Government cuts around economic development activity a lot of resources for getting people into work have gone, so there is no extra support for people.
“Hartlepool College of Further Education is fighting extremely hard, along with the local authority, to create more apprenticeships and bringing in local businesses to get young people into training.
“It is tough as there is not the volume of jobs around to be able to fulfil the need. We need more jobs available in the town.
“I think the Government is pinning its hopes on the new enterprise zones and Hartlepool is figuring strongly in the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone. It is vital that we are successful in the enterprise partnership and it does what it should to create new jobs.”
The total rise for all four of the constituency areas in the Hartlepool Mail circulation area saw a rise of 338 more claimants between July and August.
The latest Government figures show that the total claimants in the town in all age groups rose by 80, from 4,143 in July to 4,223 last month.
Figures for the Easington constituency area rose from 2,787 in July to 2,866 last month and the Sedgefield area saw a rise from 2,243 to 2,310 in the same period.
The Stockton North constituency, which includes areas of Wynyard, Billingham and Wolviston, saw a rise from 3,753 to 3,865.
Figures for the North-East show that unemployment rose by 18,000 to 136,000, which accounts for 10.7 per cent of working age people.
Northern TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: “How much more evidence do we need? The cuts are hurting, but not working – at all.
“They are simply bleeding the life out of the North-East economy and we need urgent, remedial action to stem the flow and save us from a bleak future; fewer jobs, poorer services, a generation without any hope of meaningful employment and a downward spiral of decline and stagnation at best.”
The national jobless rate stood at 2.51m, or 7.9 per cent, between May and July after the total number of unemployed increased by 80,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This was the largest quarterly increase in unemployment since the three months to August 2009.
It saw the number of unemployed 18 to 25-year-olds surge by 77,000 to 769,000.