MP in Tory job figures attack

MP Gordon Marsden

MP Gordon Marsden

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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden described the UK’s jobs situation as stagnant and said the Government was not doing enough to stimulate the jobs market.

ationally, unemployment has increased for the second month in a row, reaching 1.85 million, new figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown, while in the North West it rose by 11,000 in the quarter to June to 213,000 people.

Locally the numbers of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance has fallen on the same period last year, but Mr Marsden said the switch to Universal Credit was masking the true picture of employment .

He said the figures also did not show how much work the people who were coming off benefits were getting, saying that many were working less than full time with many jobs temporary.

In his Blackpool South constituency, 1,385 people were claiming JSA in the period, 2.7 per cent of the population, a drop of 858, or 1.7 per cent on the previous year.

In Blackpool North and Cleveleys, 999 were claiming JSA, two per cent of the population a drop of 1.4 per cent on last year.

Fylde’s figures were 420 claimants, 0.9 per cent down 0.6 per cent, Fleetwood and Lancaster had 578 claimants, down 0.7 per cent on the same period last year, while Wyre and Preston North had 221 claimants down 0.5 per cent on last year.

Preston had 1,189 claimants down 1.3 per cent on last year.

But Gordon Marsden said: “Over all the claimant rate is static.

“As far as Blackpool is concerned any recovery we have seen has slowed down and the situation has not been improving over the past few months.

“The national increase in unemployment is worrying and the Government is not doing enough to address this.

“If people are taking up part time or reduced hours jobs after previously being in full time work that does not show up in these figures. People need to be working full time.

“With young people we simply do not know how successful in finding full time positions they are under the new Universal Credit regime. It makes it look as if the figures are falling when the reality may be something entirely different.”

Stephen Timms, acting shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “The rise in youth unemployment highlights a real danger that young people are being left behind.

“Ministers must urgently deliver more high-quality apprenticeships to give young people the skills they need to get a job and build a future.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is too soon to say that jobs growth is now in a pattern of decline, but poor employment and unemployment results for a second month running are worrying.

“If we want a recovery that is built to last for the long-term, we need a better economic plan with more investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation to help job creation and growth.”

David Kern, chief economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Although the UK jobs market remains robust, these figures are disappointing because for the second month in a row we have seen unemployment rise and employment fall.

“It is also concerning that the youth unemployment rate rose.”

ONS statistician David Freeman said: “This is now the second consecutive time we’ve reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

“While it’s too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid.”

Average earnings increased by 2.4% in the year to June, down by 0.8% on the previous month, but still ahead of inflation.

But the Government pointed out there were nearly two million more people in work than in 2010, with almost half a million more jobs in the private sector over the last year.

Blackpool North and Clevleys MP Paul Maynard said: “The unemployment rate in Blackpool North & Cleveleys remains under four per cent, a rate not seen since Labour’s economic crash of 2008.

“We are seeing drops in long term unemployment and in youth unemployment and many part time jobs being converted to full time. This is all a good long term trend and shows the recovery is continuing.

“Wages are growing as is the economy.

“The challenge locally, as always, is to have a pro business council that supports start up enterprises creating quality jobs. I am meeting with council officials this week to make suggestions on this front.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “(The) figures show job vacancies at a near record high - evidence of the continued confidence of British businesses, and potential for further growth in the UK economy.

“Our one nation government is helping millions across the country to succeed and achieve their full potential.

“I was particularly pleased to see that wages are continuing to rise - meaning that hardworking people will see a real difference in their pay packets.”