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Figures reveal one in five Sussex homes are jobless
As many as one in five homes in Sussex have no adults currently in employment, according to new figures.
In 120,000 homes across the county there is no working day for the adults living there, according to the data released this week by the Office of National Statistics.
The number of jobless households across the county increased by 9,000 in 2011 from just 12 months earlier.
MPs have warned that growing up in jobless households could cause lasting damage for children.
Hastings has the highest rate of unemployed homes with one in five properties in the borough, 12,000 households, without any workers.
Affluent Chichester saw the number of jobless households double from 5,000 to 10,000 in just one year although council officials dispute the ONS figures.
In Brighton and Hove, one in seven households, 26,000 homes, has no working adults.
The city has actually seen a fall in the number of unemployed households by 1,000 compared with last year but the figure remained 7,000 homes higher than in pre-recession 2006.
Across the county, the number of jobless households has increased by 24,000 since 2006.
This week’s figures also showed a huge disparity between different counties with less than 5% of workless households in Mid Sussex.
Hastings MP Amber Rudd said the area did suffer from a culture of dependency but she and the Government were working hard to combat this.
She said: “There are jobs in Hastings and that is why I am organising a jobs fair to try to get people to come and see what opportunities are available.
“It’s damaging for children to grow up in a workless household. “We’re not just talking about a period of unemployment which can happen at any time but households where people expect to be workless and that’s what we want to break.
“It’s a case of the carrot and stick and that is why the Government is introducing conditions to welfare to help people back into work.”
A Chichester District Council spokeswoman said the figures were unreliable as they were based on figures from a survey with insufficient numbers of people.
She added: “Our unemployment levels have actually dropped over the last year, from 2.3% down to 1.9%.
“If there is an increase in workless households, it is likely to be due to the Chichester District seeing a high number of people retiring into the area, rather than an increase in unemployment.
“We have developed a Worklessness Strategy with the Local Strategic Partnership and are working with all our partners on this.”
Hove MP Mike Weatherley said: “We should focus on the positive which is that the number of unemployed is down from last year. “Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go.”