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THE efforts being made to get people into work in Hartlepool will be back under the microscope at a meeting next week.

The issue of employment in the town is being examined by Hartlepool Borough Council’s regeneration and planning services scrutiny forum in an ongoing inquiry.

People are being invited to the next meeting on Thursday, February 21, at 3pm in Committee Room B of Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Representatives JobCentre Plus, the National Apprenticeship Service and the Skills Funding Agency have been invited to give presentations about their work.

Employment is one of a number of topics being looked at by scrutiny councillors as part of a major piece of work – the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment – to assess whether the needs of local people are being met.

At an earlier forum meeting Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said one of the main issues for Hartlepool was the size of its economy, which is significantly smaller than the North-East and UK averages.

He felt that there is huge potential in Hartlepool and that new industries, such as “green” energy, have the means to change the future of employment in the town.

Councillor Ged Hall (left) chairman of the regeneration and planning services scrutiny forum, said: “The issue of unemployment is one of the most serious facing Hartlepool today.

“We have taken evidence from a variety of sources including work programme providers and young people and the message I would like to promote is that, in these difficult times, Hartlepool is ‘open for business’ and the council is committed to playing its full part in encouraging opportunities for business growth and enterprise.”

For more information about this investigation, including how to submit evidence, contact scrutiny support officer Laura Stones on (01429) 523087 or email laura.stones@hartlepool.gov.uk