URGENT action is needed to halt a downward spiral in the number of Blackpool people without jobs.
That was the rallying cry from resort MP and shadow employment and skills minister Gordon Marsden after the latest jobless figures revealed a further slump with 5,710 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in November compared to 5,575 in October.
It came as many parts of the country were enjoying the biggest rise in employment for more than a decade as the number of people out of work fell by 82,000 nationally.
Blackpool appears to be struggling where other North West towns and cities are improving with the Office for National Statistics figures showing there are now 18,000 fewer people out of work in the region than in August.
Mr Marsden said it proved cutting VAT in the tousim sector was vital to inject new life into the Fylde coast’s jobs market.
The Blackpool South Labour MP added: “Some of the unemployment is seasonal but the reality is job growth is flatlining.
“This town is more vulnerable than many other places because we have a lot of part-time work and people being let go or losing hours. Blackpool has a large amount of small businesses and they do not feel they are getting the support from Government to take on apprentices.
“We’ve said very specifically if you cut VAT by five per cent it will help the tourism industry and by cutting it on the high street it will help spending.”
Oct 2012 – 5,575 (6.4 per cent)
Nov 2012 – 5,710 (6.5 per cent)
Oct 2012 – 965 (2.1 per cent)
Nov 2012 – 1,013 (2.2 per cent)
Oct 2012 – 1,626 (2.4 per cent)
Nov 2012 – 1,629 (2.4 per cent)
Oct 2012 – 20,184 (5.6 per cent)
Nov 2012 – 20,073 (5.6 per cent)
Oct 2012 – 20,788 (6.8 per cent)
Nov 2012 – 20,419 (6.6 per cent)
In Fylde there were 48 more people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in November than the previous month. Unemployment in Wyre also increased by three people in same the period.
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said he was “disappointed” the Fylde coast was failing where other areas were bouncing back.
He added: “Of course it’s disappointing to see 40 more people in Blackpool North and Cleveleys out of work this month than last month, especially as the figures across the country, with 82,000 more people in employment and the highest number of people in jobs since records began, are encouraging. This does show the economy is healing, and we are on the right course.”
Mr Maynard claims the jobless total is rising in Blackpool because not enough attention is being paid to the private sector.
The Conservative added: “Speaking to businesses, it is clear the decisions Blackpool Council is making are failing to support the private sector where the job growth will occur.
“Transport infrastructure for one, driving north to south takes so long that it can only be bad for business and residents alike.
“We also have to understand how people leaving seasonal jobs affects these figures and perhaps take a deeper look.
“However, 2,000 new private sector jobs have been created in my constituency since the last election, so clearly much is occurring where councils, like Wyre, are positive towards the private sector.”
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn today defended his authority’s strategy.
He said: “Paul Maynard risks firmly cementing his already somewhat caricatured reputation as a reactionary without any principles or values.
“He attacks the council for wanting to reverse the trend of benefit dependency, he attacks us for wanting to deal with malnutrition and tackling child poverty, and now tries to blame the Promenade road surface for the economic blight placed on the town by his Government.
“If he has any interest in the truth, he should look at our successful Local Enterprise Partnerships application to fund the new Wallis & Grommit ride at the Pleasure Beach, he should look at the hundreds of jobs being created by our central business district development, or the hundreds of jobs that we will create in the construction of major housing schemes on Queens Park and Rigby Road.
“He chooses not to do so because if he did, he would have to face the truth that his Tory Government is the problem, and our Labour Council is the solution.”