Town jobless figure down

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THERE were 44 less people claiming jobseekers allowance in Hartlepool last month – the second consecutive month the number of claimants has dropped.

There were 4,627 people claiming the benefit in the town in April, compared to the 4,671 claimants in March, new Government figures have revealed.

The town has eight per cent of people of working age claiming the benefit, which puts Hartlepool fourth highest in the national table.

Despite the drop, there are still 435 more people claiming the out of work benefit than the same time last year.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond described the figures as a small step, but a step in the right direction.

Mayor Drummond said: “Every time you pick up a paper or watch the news you are told about the problems going on throughout Europe so it’s hard to say things are on the up.

“We can’t say we are bucking the trend, but it is a small step in the right direction and it’s good to see.”

Hartlepool has the second highest percentage of claimants in the region after Middlesbrough and is above the regional average of 5.5 per cent and double the national average of four per cent of claimants.

The town is not the only constituency to see a fall in the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants last month.

The figures showed that the Easington constituency had 14 less claimants in April than in March.

But the 3,272 people claiming the benefit is 6.2 per cent of the working population in Easington, which is still above the regional and national average.

The figures also show that 561 more people were claiming the benefit in April than the same time last year.

Stockton North, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, also saw a drop in claimants from 4,242 in March to 4,201 last month, which represents seven per cent of the working-age population.

There are 345 more people claiming the benefit this year compared to 12 months ago.

But there were 23 more claimants in Sedgefield last month than there was in March.

Almost five per cent of the population are claiming the benefit and the figures show 439 less people were claiming the benefit last year.

l MP Writes: Page 35