Jobless claimants rise in Hartlepool as national rate drops to record low

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

Hartlepool has seen a rise in jobless benefit claimants in the last month.

Figures for the town rose by 70 to stand at 3,820 claimants in November, which is 6.6% of the working age population.

Employment minister Damian Hinds

Employment minister Damian Hinds

In the Easington area the figure dropped from 1,765 in October to 1,755 in November, while the Sedgefield constituency area saw the figure fall from 1,325 in October to 1,315 in November.

The Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard, fell from 2,235 in October to 2,190 in November.

A Hartlepool JobCentre spokeswoman said: “We have just had a big event in the centre with 15 agencies, all bringing jobs to the town in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and the care sector.

“We have got some sector academy courses with Gem Partenrship whom are recruiting production operatives and and we are supporting people through the recruitment process.

“And we have a lot of callcentre vacancies in Peterlee, with the likes of Auxillis and Start Energy who are recruiting.”

The move to Universal Credit had made it easier for people to take temporary or limited hours contracts, she added: “People don’t have to be looking at what hours they do because the automatically works out how much people are entitled to,” she said.

“It is much easier for people than the previous benefit system. Housing credit is also included, so there is no need for people to make two claims - one to us and one to their local authority.”

Nationwide the Government says unemployment rate was 4.3%, down from 4.8% for a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975. There were 32.08 million people in work, 325,000 more than this time last year. More than 660,000 people are now receiving Universal Credit, with 40% in employment.

Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said: “We’re ending the year on a strong note with figures showing the unemployment rate has fallen every month in 2017, and is now at the lowest it’s been in over 40 years. Employment is at a near-record high, and there are over 3million more people in work now compared to 2010. Universal Credit is helping people get into work quicker, and ensuring they get more money in their pockets for every hour they work. Universal Credit supports both the unemployed and the low paid.”