‘Do more for the young jobless’

Michael Driver.
Michael Driver.

CALLS have been made for the Government to do more to tackle youth unemployment after five wards in Hartlepool were revealed as having some of the worst jobless rates in the region.

Brinkburn, Stranton, Dyke House, Owton Manor and Burbank areas of the town have been listed in a table highlighting the plight of jobless 16-24-year-olds.

A commission chaired by South Shields Labour MP David Miliband has called for action to address the hotspots of youth unemployment across the UK, covering 152 local authority areas.

A report commissioned by Acevo, the voluntary and charity groups organisation, suggests the Government needs to revamp the Department for Work and Pensions work programme so that it addresses more urgently the tens of thousands of young unemployed.

It was released just a day after the Hartlepool Mail kicked off its Work In Progress campaign, which highlighted the plight of jobseekers across Hartlepool.

One of our case studies, 20-year-old Michael Driver from Lanark Road in the Owton ward, said the government “wasn’t interested” in helping people into work.

He left Hartlepool College of Further Education 18 months ago with a Level 1 NVQ in plumbing, but is still to find work.

He said: “The government is not particularly interested in helping the average person.

“It can pull money out to build the Olympic stadium, but not help people into work. The priorities are wrong.”

The report reveals one in five young people are not in employment, education or training, and a quarter of a million have been unemployed for more than a year.

Figures from Hartlepool show that in the Brinkburn area, 20.3 per cent are out of work, followed by 19.5 per cent in Stranton and 19 per cent in Dyke House.

In Owton Manor, the figures show a jobless rate of 18.2 per cent while in the Burbank area, 17.9 per cent claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The unemployment total for 16-24 year olds nationally rose to 1.043m in the last quarter, taking the unemployment rate in the category to 22.3 per cent, the highest since records began in 1992.

Mayor of Hartlepool Stuart Drummond said: “The crux of the problem is there are simply not enough jobs.

“I feel for these people, I really do. It’s ironic when there’s this huge problem that Hartlepool is suffering the worst in the cuts.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright added: “The town is suffering terribly. Firms will only take young people on when there’s a demand for services.

“We need to try to raise demand and stimulate economic activity and the Government have a role to play in that as well.

“They are stripping demand out of the economy, taking public expenditure away from Hartlepool, cutting demand and lowering confidence, which means firms won’t take people on.

“It’s a vicious circle.”