Employment rise ‘one of region’s best’

A Job Centre Plus
A Job Centre Plus

St Helens is working after the latest unemployment figures showed a huge fall in benefits claimants compared to last year.

The latest data showed there were 3,020 people on out-of-work benefits in the borough in July, a drop of 575 people or 16 per cent on the figure for 12 months ago.

The number of 18-to-24-year-old claimants has also fallen significantly, with last month’s figure of 810 a drop of 19 per cent on the number of claimants in July 2015.

The Job Centre Plus hailed the borough as one of the region’s best-performing areas, congratulating the St Helens authorities for their work on apprenticeships and saying fears of job losses in the wake of the Brexit vote have so far failed to materialise.

Merseyside press officer Alan Harrison said: “The reduction is the highest percentage this year and we are seeing the best part of three years of sustainable increases in employment.
“Throughout the North West we have been very successful with apprenticeships because the Government is now subsidising employers and St Helens is one of the best at this with the Chamber of Commerce controlling it.

“With this being the first month after Brexit if anything was going to happen I would have expected to see it, but what we’ve found is that nationwide we’ve got 750,000 jobs on record.

“They are not going to give everyone a job they want to do for the rest of their lives, but they are a foot in the door to see what they can do.”

Mr Harrison said there was more good news for St Helens as leading firms in retail, logistics and training are in talks to move into the area.

St Helens residents have also been taking up job opportunities elsewhere on Merseyside, with the construction industry looking to recruit in Liverpool.

The whole city region is currently enjoying significant reductions in benefits claimants, with the July figure of 27,145 a drop of 13 per cent on that recorded 12 months ago.