Hartlepool sees huge rise in jobless benefit claimants

Job Centre Plus. Picture by FRANK REID
Job Centre Plus. Picture by FRANK REID

Jobless benefit claimants in Hartlepool have rocketed in the last month.

In March there were 3,030 people claiming out-of-work benefits in Hartlepool, but that rose to 3,325 in April.

Ben Houchen, the new Tees Valley Mayor.

Ben Houchen, the new Tees Valley Mayor.

The same period also saw the proportion of claimants rise from 5.3% to 5.8%.

In the Easington constituency area the figure fell from 1,775 in March to April’s 1,740.

The figure for Sedgefield also fell from 1,300 in March to 1,260 in April, and in the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard, it also fell from 2,475 in March to 2,445 in April.

Across the North East unemployment between January and March fell by 14,000 to stand at 76,000, which is a rate of 5.9%.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said: “The figures demonstrate the rate of unemployment in the North East, at 5.9%, is no longer the highest in the UK; the highest is now London at 6.1%.

“It is fantastic news that the North East has seen the fastest year on year decline in regional unemployment.

“For too long we have had the worst rate in the UK, although it is still an issue the situation is steadily improving.

“Unemployment can only be solved by dynamic and successful local businesses and in my role as Mayor I am determined to help them to grow and prosper.
“In the few days since the Mayoral election in Tees Valley nearly 200 new jobs have been announced by local companies, together with more than £16 million worth of investment.”

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns, North East England Chamber of Commerce said ‘the figures are great news for our region’.

He added: Both the employment and unemployment indicators continue to move in the right direction, while our region has seen the biggest fall in the unemployment rate of anywhere in the UK.

“The North East accounted for 17% of the national fall in unemployment over the past year.

“These numbers also show that we no longer have the highest unemployment rate in the country.

“Credit for this should go to our businesses, who continue to build a working North East by investing in recruitment and training on the back of continued growth and success.

“However, we know there is still so much untapped potential in our current and future labour market and there are many great reasons to build a career in the North East.”