Hartlepool tops the national table for households where no-one works
Hartlepool continues to have the highest proportion of households in the whole of Britain where no-one has a job.
The town has had the highest percentage of workless households for 2016, 2017 and 2018 and has been in the top five nationally for the last five years.
Last year, just under a third of Hartlepool households (30%) did not have anyone in employment according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
That was 10% higher than the North East average and more than double the UK average of 14%.
Local politicians say they are working to address the issue by securing more investment to boost job opportunities, but admit more needs to be done.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said: “Clearly these figures are of concern and need to be addressed. It’s not a reflection on ordinary people of working age who are in this unfortunate situation, it’s more to do with a lack of opportunities and meaningful employment in the town.
“To that effect I’m working closely with the council and the combined authority to generate the kind of investment needed to re-grow jobs, and in particular I am pushing hard for Hartlepool to become a central player in the development of green technologies and the delivery of the new green industrial revolution.
“We also need to think differently and more creatively if we are to tackle what has clearly become in many cases a generational problem.
“That is why I have been exploring some exciting and alternative ideas around community wealth building with the Hartlepool Fabians and other parties.
“I am confident that with a different emphasis placed on how we do things in the town that we can create a situation where we not only increase the number of job opportunities, but create the kind of growth that will benefit the local economy and put us on a more sustainable footing for the future.”
Hartlepool had 8,890 workless households last year, up by 26% since 2008.
The most common reason across the North East was sickness or disability. Early retirees made up 14% of jobless people, and students 12%.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “If there are any Hartlepool businesses that need extra money to create jobs, my door is always wide open. We’ve stepped in and supported hundreds of local companies and created proper apprenticeships but we have so much more to do.”
The Department for Work and Pensions said it is committed to reducing the figures by supporting people, especially parents, into work through job centres and under the new benefits system parents can claim up to 85% of childcare costs.
Councillor Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Stimulating jobs and growth and creating pathways into training and employment is a top priority for the Council and, despite on-going financial challenges, we are committed to working with a range of partners to create high-quality jobs and training opportunities for local people.
“However turning around the record levels of unemployment in towns like Hartlepool requires a long-term partnership approach between national and local government and will require significant investment in education, employment and training support.
“In addition, a significant proportion of the long-term unemployed in Hartlepool are people with a disability and ill health, many of whom have conditions that severely restrict their ability to work.
“We have been successful as a council in attracting over £50m of investment over the last 10 years in creating innovative pathways into skills and work for unemployed adults and young people, and £33.5m into stimulating jobs growth through such schemes as the BIS in Whitby street and the boost to our visitor economy and tourist industry through the regeneration of Seaton Carew and the Waterfront.
“However, turning around the legacy of economic decline will need sustained effort over time and more investment.
“We will continue to make sure that tackling high levels of unemployment in Hartlepool remains a key priority not just for the Council but for national government.”