Apprentices the key to cutting jobless figures

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EMPLOYING more apprentices is the key to getting thousands of Blackpool’s job seekers back into work, a business chief claimed today.

It comes as official figures reveal unemployment is down in Blackpool – but thousands of people are still out of work.

Findings released by the Office for National Statistics show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the resort dropped in March from 6,179 to 6,027.

In January, 6,226 people were claiming the benefit in Blackpool, compared to last January’s total of 6,407.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses on the Fylde coast, has called on businesses to employ more apprentices.

He said: “We have got to build on that and look at this as a starting point and see things are on the up.

“There will be a seasonal adjustment but if businesses can start taking more people on it will be good.

“The tourism season has started and the supply chain to all the tourism related businesses should start to pick up.”

The figures elsewhere were mixed as unemployment in Fylde went from 1,068 in February to 1,064 last month.

Statistics for Wyre rose slightly from 1,725 in January to 1,750 in February, but dropped to 1,705 in March.

But Coun Brian Doherty, of Blackpool Centre for the Unemployed, questioned the accuracy of the figures.

He added: “I welcome any genuine drop in unemployment but would question these figures.

“Unemployment is on the up and I find it strange that Blackpool, which traditionally has high unemployment, especially out of season, seems to be going against the national trend.”

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