Unemployment rises by more than 85% in Suffolk

COUNCIL chiefs last night pledged to do all they can to help people in Suffolk find jobs - as the number of unemployed rocketed by more than 85% in a year.

Craig Robinson

COUNCIL chiefs last night pledged to do all they can to help people in Suffolk find jobs - as the number of unemployed rocketed by more than 85% in a year.

According to the Office of National Statistics there are now 14,082 individuals in the county looking for work.

This is an 87% rise compared to this time last year - most of which has come in the last three months, with unemployment up 66% in February compared to November.


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Last night Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said the authority was giving extra help to local families and businesses struggling in the current economic downturn.

This includes extra support to Jobcentre plus, the creation of a “Suffolk Apprentices” scheme and making money available through bursaries to those who have lost their job and want to become self-employed.

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He said an additional �100,000 had also been made available to the Citizens Advice Bureau so it can give an extra 150 hours of support over the next two years and �500,000 had been given to credit unions for them to help individuals and families manage their debts.

“There are many practical things we are doing,” he said. “However it's not just those who are unemployed -families also come under pressure.

“It is clearly a very difficult time but we have a moral duty to protect people and that's what I'm determined we will do.”

In January Vion Food Group - formerly Grampian Country Pork - announced up to 470 job losses at its factory in Little Wratting, near Haverhill.

Richard Spring, MP for West Suffolk, said the increase in unemployment levels was “catastrophic”.

“Nobody should think unemployment is a phenomenon of urban Britain,” he said. “It affects all parts of the country - not least a more rural county like Suffolk.”

Mr Spring said a number of constituents had been to see him with mortgage and housing concerns and warned unemployment rates were likely to rise further.

“We're not in good shape I'm afraid and I fear - regrettably - that there could be more ahead,” he said. “We need to make sure that in these very difficult circumstances we are prepared for what it is to come.”

Employment minister Tony McNulty said the Government would continue to provide help to everyone who needs it.

“Even with the fall in labour demand that we are currently experiencing, we need to remember that three quarters of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance leave it within six months, and 250,000 people left the claimant count in February,” he said. “We are investing �2 billion to ensure Jobcentre Plus can continue to offer all its customers a first class service and next month people who have been claiming for six months will be able to access the enhanced package of support which we announced in January.”

Unemployment in Suffolk

District Unemployed (unemployment rate)

Babergh 1,440 (2.9%)

Forest Heath 940 (2.4%)

Ipswich 3,803 (5.0%)

Mid Suffolk 1,290 (2.3%)

St Edmundsbury 1,928 (3.1%)

Suffolk Coastal 1,528 (2.2%)

Waveney 3,153 (4.8%)

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