Jobless total blamed on ‘reckless policies’

Shadow Northern Ireland Home Secretary Shaun Woodward speaks during the Labour Party Conference at the Echo Area in Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 29, 2011. See PA LABOUR Stories. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Shadow Northern Ireland Home Secretary Shaun Woodward speaks during the Labour Party Conference at the Echo Area in Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 29, 2011. See PA LABOUR Stories. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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ONE in eight 18 to 24-year-olds in St Helens claimed jobseekers allowance last month.

The figures, released last week by the Office for National Statistics, also revealed how 400 of the 1,865 young jobseekers have been claiming the benefit for at least six months.

Nationally, the number of unemployed young people rose to 1.02m.

In response, Shaun Woodward, the MP for St Helens South and Whiston, called for the coalition Government to take urgent action - including more help for young people to find jobs and apprenticeships.

Mr Woodward (pictured, right) said: “This Government’s reckless policies are causing disaster for young people. They are throwing a generation of young people onto the scrapheap.

“Rising unemployment, rampant inflation, falling wages and huge spending cuts are killing public and private sectors alike.

“The Government’s plan is certainly hurting. But it is also not working - family after family in St Helens is being damaged by this reckless coalition.”

In all, 5,536 people claimed jobseekers allowance in St Helens last month - 3,739 men and 1,797 women.

Despite the percentage of jobseekers in St Helens being higher than both the regional and national averages, the total number of jobseekers actually fell by 103 compared to September.

But, although the local Job Centre Plus reportedly had 884 unfilled vacancies last month, that still equated to more than six jobseekers in St Helens per job vacancy.

Employment minister Chris Grayling claimed the rising unemployment was a reflection of the impact of economic problems in the Eurozone.

He said: “These figures show just how much our economy is being affected by the crisis in the Eurozone. Our European partners must take urgent action to stabilise the position.

“Our challenge in the autumn statement will be to put in place additional measures to support growth and create employment opportunities, especially for young people.”