A DROP in Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in Hartlepool masks the increase in people who have been out of work for more than a year.
That is the view of Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who believes long-term unemployment in the town is a “major concern”.
As reported in yesterday’s Mail, the number of people claiming the benefit in the town fell to 4,414 last month – the lowest since November 2011.
But Mr Wright points to the fact that the number of jobseekers who have been claiming the benefit for more than a year has actually risen month-on-month since May 2011.
Last month, 1,815 people in the town had been claiming jobseekers’ allowance for more than 12 months, 20 more than in April and the 24th consecutive month the figure had increased.
“The fall in the number of people claiming jobseekers’ allowance is a step in the right direction,” admitted Mr Wright.
“But it does mask a number of worrying trends, not least of which is the continued increase in long-term unemployment.
“This concerns me because the longer people are out of work the more difficult it is to get into the job market.
“Constituents are coming to me and saying ‘I have got the skills but I need help’ and they aren’t getting that support they need.
“Months quickly become years, and the task of the Job Centre Plus is to get these skilled people into work.”