2:30pm Thursday 17th February 2011
DOLE queues across the town have increased by more than 250 in the past month as job losses from government cuts begin to take effect.
Official monthly figures from the Office of National Statistics show there are 4,456 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) across Swindon compared with 4,195 the previous month.
It means 3.4 per cent of everyone of working age is claiming the benefit compared with 2.6 per cent in the South West. The figures also reveal 25.2 per cent of the total on the benefit are aged 18 to 24.
Across North Wiltshire claimant count increase by 110 to 1,802 of which 500 are aged 18 to 24. It means 2.1 per cent of working age people are on the benefit.
Nationally the number of people claiming JSA increased, by 79,900 to 1.505 million. UK unemployment rose by 44,000 in UK to almost 2.5 million in the three months to the end of December, the Office for National Statistics said.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “It’s been a difficult few months in the labour market but things do now seem to be stabilising. The challenge for us now is to push ahead with our welfare reforms as quickly as possible so we start to move more people off benefits to take advantage of those vacancies.”
Ministers have repeatedly said that the UK economy faces significant challenges ahead and by reducing the deficit, encouraging private sector firms to create jobs and giving jobseekers the best possible back to work support, people will get back into work.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said the rise was a sign that the government could not rely on the private sector to create jobs.
Mr Byrne said: “The bad news on unemployment is fresh evidence that we need a plan B for the economy.
“The Tory-led Government has put the recovery in the slow lane and now, after more than a year since we came out of recession, unemployment is still going up.
“It looks especially serious news for young people. Youth unemployment is up again and heading towards the million mark. Many of our young people now face a summer of anxiety. If they don’t get the grades to go to college they face a jobs market that is tougher than ever.
“Worse, private sector employment is dead flat. Public sector job cuts are mounting.”
According to the ONS figures there are 1,125 jobs being advertised across Job Centre Plus boards in Swindon and a further 392 in North Wiltshire - an estimated third of all available.
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