Concern at jobless rise

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A BLACKPOOL MP has slammed the latest unemployment figures – which have revealed a 12 per cent rise on last year.

Blackpool South now has 3,704 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

MP Gordon Marsden (pictured) said his constituency now had the 63rd highest level of unemployment in the country, with one in 10 out of work.

He said: “What these figures don’t show however is the number of people forced into part-time work because they can’t find a full-time job,

“Key groups in Blackpool are affected – especially women aged in their 30s and 40s, as well as young people.

“They are being forced to take jobs beneath their expectations, and for fewer hours.”

Nationally, the number claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance fell 45,000 on the last quarter.

However, there was a 0.4 per cent rise of 15,000 claiming in the North West in the period.

Tony Attard, chair of the Institute of Directors North West, said the statistics had good and bad points.

He added: “These figures raise half a cheer for the economy.

“Both headline unemployment measures are down, which is obviously good news, but there’s bad news in the average earnings figures.

“Average earnings growth including bonuses has collapsed from 1.3 per cent to just 0.1 per cent.

“Excluding bonuses, average earnings growth stands at two per cent, which is way behind inflation.

“This means the real squeeze in household incomes continues to act as a dragging anchor on consumption and high street spending.”

Paul Kenny, GMB Union General Secretary said the jobs situation was a black stain on the Government’s record on employment.

He added: “That there are 2.63m people without jobs shows the extent to which the Government gamble with the economy has failed.

“So instead of borrowing to support the economy and to continue the recovery, the Government has had to borrow to fund the recession.”

But Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the Government was happy with the situation nationally.

He added: “These figures are a welcome step in the right direction.

“For a number of months now employment has been growing and this is starting to feed through into improving unemployment figures.

“However, we still face significant international uncertainty.”