‘Depressing time’ for jobseekers

AN MP has described Hartlepool’s unemployment crisis as “extremely grim” as the town’s job centre advertised just 73 vacancies for the 4,033 people on the dole queue.

Figures last month, which ranked Hartlepool as fourth in a national jobseekers list, revealed that just over 4,000 people in the town are claiming job seekers allowance.

On Friday, just 73 jobs were being advertised in the town’s job centre despite the Wesley Square facility being the first port of call for people seeking work.

While the figures do not take into account positions which are advertised either internally or on the internet, town MP Iain Wright today admitted the position was “extremely grim”.

With the latest figures not set to be released for another two weeks, it means that as of Friday, there was one job available for every 55 jobseekers in Hartlepool.

And with the local authority facing the prospect of axing jobs later this year, the picture looks likely to be bleak for the forseeable future.

Mr Wright said: “These figures demonstrate what people in Hartlepool know.

“For those looking for work it is now more difficult than it has been for many, many years.

“The position in 2011 is looking extremely grim.”

The MP has called on the government to help people out, saying: “Raising VAT, cutting the future jobs fund and the massive public sector cuts is just making it even more difficult for people.”

The Mail revealed last month how seven per cent of people in the town were claiming Jobseekers Allowance in December.

The figure is way above the North East average of nearly five percent and double the national average.

Of the 73 jobs available in the town on Friday, the majority were in catering, cleaning and care work.

One glass collecting vacancy is offering just six hours each week at minimum wage.

Another job, described as a catering assistant, offers 16-18 hours a week at minimum wage.

Practical jobs with full-time hours were available on Friday, but many of them were only temporary.

One job, advertised as a labourer, offered 48-hours a week with a wage between £7.50 and £8.50 an hour – but only for two months.

A number of hairdressing vacancies were also advertised, but all of them required previous experience.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, said: “It is grim at the minute and I think we need to be showing these sorts of figures to the Government.

“The competition is going to be extremely difficult for any job that does become available.

“I think we are all hoping and praying for a knight on a white horse to come into Hartlepool and create a load of jobs, but realistically that isn’t going to happen.

“The government are saying that jobs will become available but come the end of March there are going to be even more redundancies and job losses.

“People can get trained and skilled in different courses, but if jobs aren’t available they aren’t going to be able to get into work.”

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