UNION chiefs are calling for the Government to “change its tack” to help young people into work after Hartlepool topped a youth unemployment league.
Figures show the number of 18 to 25-year-olds out of work increased to 14.7 per cent from September last year to September this year, with 1,450 without a job.
This is up by 3.5 per cent from the previous year, when 13.9 per cent, or 1,158 on the dole queue.
As previously reported in the Mail, Hartlepool has seen the biggest rise in youth unemployment across the country in the past year and union chiefs say young people as a whole are suffering, with the North- East being home to the biggest deterioration of youth employment in Britain.
The TUC said every North East council area has seen an increase to more than one in five of its young people out of work.
Hartlepool has the biggest rise in youth unemployment and union officials say there is a widening North-South divide in opportunities for young people after leafy areas like Richmond-on-Thames, Kensington and Chelsea actually saw improvements.
Neil Foster, TUC Northern’s policy and campaigns officer, said: “Youth unemployment is growing much more quicker in the North-East.
“Hartlepool has got the biggest deterioration.
“What we want the Government to do is recognise there is an enormous problem with youth unemployment and it’s getting worse not better.
“They must consider reinstating the Future Jobs Fund which the previous Government created after the recession to give more real opportunities that are paid for young people.”
Mr Foster said the TUC wants to see more support for sectors including construction, which suffered badly during the recession.
He added: “We want the Government to start considering having an economic course that ensures young people are at the forefront of their mind and not overlooked.
“Unless there are some changes now, it’s only going to get much worse.”
In east Durham, 1,250 young people are on the dole queue, 14.3 per cent of the age group.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “We are determined to ensure all young people have the chance of work which is why we are cutting the deficit to bring stability back to the economy, and promoting economic growth to create jobs for the long term.”