SHOCK new figures reveal 11 people are chasing every vacant job in Hartlepool – making the town one of the worst in the region to find employment.
Hartlepool is second only to Middlesbrough in terms of the number of people hunting advertised posts according to figures released by Unison, the UK’s largest union.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said the figures are “unsurprising” and joined union leaders in calling for a bold strategy for growth and jobs in the Chancellor’s forthcoming budget on March 20.
Latest Government statistics show the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Hartlepool rose from 4,715 in December to 4,841 in January, a hike of 126 claimants.
In town 8.3 per cent of working age people claim the benefit, which is the third highest proportion in the country, behind Hull at nine per cent and Middlesbrough at 8.8 per cent.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “The figures are unsurprising.
“I have been saying for many months now that unemployment is the biggest social and economic challenge facing our town.
“If we don’t have an economy with jobs and growth then the scars will last for many, many years.
“I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by Unison and call on the Chancellor to have a ‘jobs’ budget to ensure that the people of
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Hartlepool who want to work, and the vast majority do, are able to do so.”
Mr Wright called on Chancellor George Osborne to include more incentives to help employers take on new staff and called for a temporary cut in VAT to ensure people have more money in their pocket and the confidence to spend.
UNISON figures reveal there are 7.5 people chasing every vacant job in the North East, making the region the hardest in England, Wales and Scotland in which to find a job.
Out of the 12 local authority areas Middlesbrough is the hardest hit with 14.1 people pursuing every single advertised job and Hartlepool second with 11.3 people.
Hartlepool is also second highest in the country for youth unemployment, with 1,425 people aged 18 to 25 claiming the benefit.
Clare Williams, UNISON regional convenor, said: “The scale of the ongoing jobs crisis in the North East is deeply worrying.
“Three long years of cuts – with more to come – and still there are not enough jobs to go around.
“The government has got it wrong on the recession and it has sacrificed our recovery.
“As well as laying waste to our public services, cuts have a stranglehold on the private sector.”
Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal since March 2008 and September 2012 public sector employment in the region has fallen by 10 per cent.
Union chiefs say pay freezes and uncertainty over job security is a “serious worry” for low paid workers and have urged the Government to invest in the regional infrastructure to create jobs.
Gill Hale, northern regional secretary for UNISON, said: “The government does have a choice.
“Use the budget to outline a bold strategy for jobs and growth.
“The most damaging thing the government could do is to plough on regardless with its reckless anti growth, no hope, cuts strategy.”