Jobless rise is ‘disappointing’

Stuart Drummond
Stuart Drummond

THE number of jobless benefits claimants in Hartlepool has risen.

The latest Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant figures from the Government show a rise in Hartlepool in November to 4,728, compared to 4,694 in October.

It puts Hartlepool in joint second alongside Middlesbrough with at 8.1 per cent of people of working age who are claiming the benefit, behind Kingston upon Hull at the top with 8.2 per cent.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “Once again the figures are disappointing, but not really surprising.

“It’s not going to get better for months, if not years and it is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

“As a council, we are doing as much as we can. With things like the Enterprise Zone, the building blocks are in place but it is all about getting companies to come here.”

Figures for the Easington constituency show a rise from 3,444 in October to 3,463 in November.

In the Sedgefield constituency there was a rise from 2,627 in October to 2,643 in November.

In the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, there was a fall from 4,194 in October to 4,162 in November.

Unemployment in the North-East fell by 11,000 in the three months to October. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 123,000 people were unemployed in the region between August and October, the region’s unemployment rate was 9.5 per cent and saw a fall of 8.2 per cent during the period.

Nationwide, a record number of people are in work after the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment for over a decade.

The jobless total fell by 82,000 in the three months to October, to 2.51m, down by 128,000 on a year ago, which the ONS says was the biggest quarterly fall since the spring of 2001.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6m, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on a year ago.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “The Government is failing to recognise the escalating East Durham jobs crisis, as month after month, the number of people looking for work continues to rise.

“Despite repeated calls the Prime Minister and the Employment Minister refuse to visit East Durham, to offer the support we need to boost jobs and growth, and see the frontline of Government cuts and austerity.”