Unemployment doubles in region

THE number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Suffolk and Essex has more than doubled in a year, new figures have revealed.

Anthony Bond

THE number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Suffolk and Essex has more than doubled in a year, new figures have revealed.

The devastating affect of the recession has led to 13,634 people in Suffolk claiming the allowance, up from 7365 last year.

In Essex, the number of people claiming the benefit has more than doubled to 28,924, an increase from 12,897 last year.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, reveal that in the East of England there are 187,000 people unemployed - an increase of 12,000 in the past three months.

Suffolk South MP Tim Yeo said he feared the numbers of people who are unemployed would increase yet further.

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“I guess the figures are a reflection on the recession and I fear that unemployment is going to continue to rise for a while yet,” he said.

“It is a terrible tragedy for the people who have lost their jobs and it is very demoralising and frustrating for people who want to work but are not able to do so. What needs to be done is that the government should be focusing more on areas where you can get labour intensive work quickly. The other area is making sure that people have the chance when they lose their jobs to get the skills applicable for the next decade.”

The areas in Suffolk which saw the biggest increases in people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance were the Forest Heath and Babergh districts. Ipswich and Waveney recorded the smallest rises.

In north Essex, Maldon and Braintree districts saw the biggest increases in people claiming the allowance.

Douglas Carswell, Harwich MP, said: “We need to stop hammering small businesses and not tax them for creating jobs.

“It is now so difficult for local business that it is easier for them to try to get by without somebody on their books than it is to create jobs because their national insurance contributions are racked up.”

Councillor Bruce Provan, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for skills and economic development, said: “The county council is responding in a number of ways to help people to deal with unemployment. One of the main methods is through its management of the Economic Participation programme, jointly funded by the East of England Development Agency. For the past three to four years the programme has been supporting a range of projects that try and remove the barriers to participation in the workforce and provide a route out of unemployment.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said that if anyone needs support or assistance then they should contact the chamber.

Dee Crowe, from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber is actively working with partners to support the Suffolk community on a number of initiatives that aim to get people back into work.”

Nationally unemployment has soared to almost 2.4 million with the figure rising by 281,000 in the three months to May. This was the biggest quarterly increase on record, taking the total to 2.38 million, the highest since 1995.

June 2009 June 2008

Babergh 1416 582

Forest Heath 985 387

Ipswich 3816 2292

Mid Suffolk 1196 587

St.Edmundsbury 1899 967

Suffolk Coastal 1457 680

Waveney 2865 1870

Suffolk 13,634 7365

June 2009 June 2008

Braintree 3059 1209

Chelmsford 3025 1239

Colchester 3554 1742

Maldon 1146 443

Tendring 3543 1917

Essex 28,924 12,897