Hartlepool MP says rise in jobless figures shows economic recovery is not reaching the north

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has described a rise in the town’s jobless as “disappointing”.

In Hartlepool, there were 3,961 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in January, up by 24 from 3,937 in December.

Both figures represent 6.8 per cent of the town’s working-age population.

This is in contrast to a fall in unemployment nationally, as the total was 2.34m in the final quarter of last year, down by 125,000, giving a rate of 7.2 per cent.

Although the town number is down by almost 900 from 4,841 from January 2013, the town’s MP Iain Wright has expressed his disappointment and says a lot more needs to be done to stimulate the economy.

There were 1,085 young people aged 18 to 24 claiming the benefit in January, compared to 1,095 the previous month.

The latest figure is 13.1 per cent of the town’s working population in that age group.

The number of 25 to 49-year-old claimants was 2,235, up from 2,210 in December, the 2,235 representing 7.6 per cent.

And the number of over-50s claimants is up from 620 to 635, 3.5 per cent of working population in the age group.

The figure for those claiming for more than six months has gone down from 1,600 to 1,580, which is 2.7 per cent.

Mr Wright said: “I think it’s disappointing.

“I think it shows that the economic recovery that the Government boasts about is not translating first into the north and second into getting well-paid jobs.

“So I hope that we see an economic recovery that benefits all.

“But yesterday’s jobs figures show there’s still a lot more to do in order to make sure people have meaningful employment.”

In the former Easington district, the figure remains the same as the previous month, with 2,587 claiming the benefit, which is 4.9 per cent of the working population.

But Easington MP Grahame Morris is questioning the figures, especially after 136 redundancies at an engineering firm in Seaham, also in his constituency, before Christmas.

Mr Morris questioned the methods used to arrive at the figures, saying: “For instance, are people on various employment schemes like ESA counted? My constituents in their 50s in receipt of time-limited ESA with modest pit pensions are then denied JSA because they fail the means test and are not counted in the figures.

“Are people who are subject to benefits sanctions counted and are people who are in receipt of Universal Credit counted?

“I have made enquiries to the House of Common library asking them to query these numbers as I question the validity of the figures.”

In the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard, the number is up by 137 – from 3,446 in December to 3,583 in January.

The 3,446 claimants represent six per cent of the constituency’s working-age population.

There are an extra 26 people claiming the benefit in the Sedgefield constituency, from 1,980 in December to 2,006 in January.

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