Hartlepool unemployment benefit figures drop as JobCentre staff strike

Striking workers outside of the Job Centre, Raby Road. Hartlepool
Striking workers outside of the Job Centre, Raby Road. Hartlepool

JOB Centre officials have welcomed another fall in the number of people claiming benefits – the eight successive drop.

The latest figures show there were 2,775 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Hartlepool in September, a drop of 47 on August’s figure of 2,822.

September was the eight consecutive month to see a reduction in the number of claimants across the town.

And the claimant count has fallen by more than 1,300 during the last 12 months.

Jackie McNab, JobcentrePlus spokesman for Hartlepool, said: “When you look at the figures over the year they are hugely impressive, over 1,300 people no longer claiming, and 500 are 18 to 24-year-olds.

“I think there are all kinds of reasons behind it. The economy is picking up and we have changed the way we support claimants.

“People are now expected to do more to look for work which increases the chances of them finding employment.”

Ms McNab said the North- East generally takes longer than other parts of the country to recover from recession.

She said in Hartlepool the Job Centre is looking to strengthen links with the manufacturing industry and is working closely with town firm TMD Friction to create opportunities.

Ms McNab added: “The fall in claimants gives us more breathing space to support people who maybe further away from the labour market.”

The figures were released on the same day that some Hartlepool JobCentre staff took part in strike action.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union protested over a Government pay freeze.