More young people claim Job Seekers Allowance in Blackpool

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The number of young people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Blackpool has risen for a fourth consecutive month.

New figures show that 510 people aged 18 to 24 claimed JSA in the Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency in February, up from 500 the previous month.

That represents nearly 23 per cent of claimants. In Blackpool South, the figure rose from 750 to 765 - more than 24 per cent of claimants.

The figures remain lower than in February 2013, when they were 710 in Blackpool North and Cleveleys and 975 in Blackpool South.

Overall JSA claims were largely static, rising from 2,233 to 2,234 in Blackpool North and Cleveleys - 4.4 per cent of the working age population - and falling from 3,156 to 3,151 in Blackpool South - 6.2 per cent of those at working age.

JSA rates remained the same in Lancaster and Fleetwood 2.2 per cent and Wyre 1.1 per cent but fell slightly in Fylde from 2.1 per cent to 2 per cent.

Paul Maynard,Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “Blackpool Council has to work out what it can do to encourage private business and investment,” said Mr Maynard, pointing to what he claimed was the pro-business outlook of the Conservative-controlled Wyre Council.

“They have to sort the roads out and they have to create the space and conditions to create an incubator unit for small start up businesses.”

But Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “This much vaunted economic recovery is coming very slowly - and these figures do not show the number of people who have had their hours cut or are now part-time.

“Our JSA claimant count is twice the national average and the gap between the North West and the South is not being narrowed.

“We need a more radical programme to support people into employment, particularly young people, which is why Labour is guarantee ing a job for anyone out of work for more than 12 months.

“The Government introduce traineeships to help support people into apprenticeships, but has not promoted them to employers or colleges and is not allowing 19 to 24-year-olds who do them to keep their JSA.

Separate figures showed the North West unemployment rate had inceased from 7.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent over the last quarter - still down on the 8.6 per cent rate a year ago.

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “The biggest factor in putting people out of work in Blackpool is the number of job losses enforced directly by Mr Maynard’s Government.

“For example, between 2010 and 2012, the number of public sector jobs in Blackpool reduced by a staggering 2,200 as a result of the cuts which are punishing the people in this area and badly affecting the public services we all use.

“When it comes to backing local business, in the last year alone, Blackpool Council’s Get Started team has helped more than 100 new business to form.

“The Talbot Gateway Central Business District, which is due to open soon, will also make a huge difference with 300 workers already having been employed by Sainsbury’s and many more expected in the other units.

“Unemployment is falling but it is still too high and we recognise the need to attract new job opportunities.”