Plea for more job creation

THE number of people claiming jobless benefit has fallen slightly amid calls for Government funding to boost employment opportunities.

Hartlepool has seen a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance from 4,556 in August to 4,550 in September.

It leaves the town joint fourth nationally for the percentage of people claiming the benefit which stands at 7.8 per cent.

Deputy Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Cath Hill said it is a move in the right direction but more could be done to help people find work.

Coun Hill said: “There aren’t big employers coming into the town, but there are small businesses starting at Queens Meadow and they are doing okay and there are often things starting at the Innovation Centre.

“I would like to see it more than six going down, but its better than six going up.

“This is the time that we should be improving infrastructure. To do that people say we have to borrow money, but on the other hand people will be employed and they are paying tax and not getting benefits.

“For a long time the economy has been at a low and materials and costs are cheaper, so it is the time we should be doing that.

“But the council doesn’t have the money and the Government won’t give it.”

The latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the Easington constituency area had a rise from 3,307 in August 3,411 the following month.

In the Sedgefield constituency there was a fall from 2,629 in August to 2,593 in September.

And in the Stockton North constituency, which covers Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, there was a slight rise from 4,203 in August to 4,207 in September.

Figures for the North-East show unemployment fell by 11,000 in the three months to August, with a total of 129,000 people unemployed between June and August.

The region’s unemployment rate was 9.9 per cent and saw a drop of 7.9 per cent during the period.

Nationally the Government has hailed new figures showing a record number of people in work as a “real landmark”, as unemployment and jobless benefit claimants fell.

Employment grew in the quarter to August by 212,000 to 29.59m, the highest since records began in 1971, although more people are in part-time jobs than ever.

Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged there were still “enormous economic challenges” facing the country, but he said reforms were being made which could safeguard the UK’s place in the world.

Unemployment fell by 50,000 in the latest quarter to 2.53m, the lowest since the spring, giving a jobless rate of 7.9 per cent.

The numbers claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 4,000 in September to 1.57m, the third consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total since July 2011.

The Office for National Statistics also reported that part-time employment increased by 125,000 between March and May to a record high of 8.13m.

The number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4m.