Young jobless crisis deepens

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright

HARTLEPOOL has plunged deeper in to a youth unemployment crisis as rising numbers of young people claimed jobless benefit in the last month.

The number of people in Hartlepool claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has risen to 4,252 people in September, up from 4,223 in August.

The figures also show that claimants in the 18 to 25 age group has gone up by 25 to 1,450 in the same period.

There are 17.4 per cent of people in the age group claiming the benefit, up from 17.1 per cent the previous month, which leaves Hartlepool continuing to top the table with the highest proportion nationwide.

Town MP Iain Wright, who was this week promoted by Labour leader Ed Miliband to become Shadow Minister for Competitiveness and Enterprise, said the Government needs to change its economic policy.

Mr Wright said: “Not only are the Government’s policies not working, but because of the Government’s focus on stripping demand out of the economy, a growing number of people in the North-East are not working either. For the second month running, the North- East has seen a big increase in those out of work.

“The Government needs to admit its plan is not working, change direction and put in place a plan to boost economic growth and jobs.

“It is clear that by cutting spending too far and too fast and by raising taxes this Tory-led Government is stifling business and creating a vicious circle of increased pessimism, no growth and soaring unemployment.”

Claimants in the 25 to 50 age group also figure high in the national table with Hartlepool having the 7th highest proportion at 7.5 per cent, while the over 50 age group is 32nd at 2.4 per cent.

It comes as there was a rise in the number of overall claimants in the Easington constituency, from 2,866 to 2,942, and also in the Sedgefield constituency which rose from 2,310 in August to 2,352 in September.

The Stockton North constituency, which covers Billingham, Wolviston and areas of Wynyard, saw a rise from 3,865 to 3,900 in the same period.

Across the North-East there were 19,000 more people unemployed between June and August to stand at 142,000.

Nationally, unemployment has reached a 17-year high after more than 100,000 people joined the ranks of those looking for a job.

Unemployment increased by 114,000 to 2.57m, the worst figure since the autumn of 1994, giving a jobless rate of 8.1 per cent, the highest since 1996.

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 74,000 over the latest quarter to 991,000, a rate of 21.3 per cent, the highest total since comparable records began in 1992.

l MP writes: Page 12.