‘Hidden unemployment figures must not be ignored’

Reacting to new figures that suggest unemployment in Middlesbrough is almost double official statistics local MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (4th September) urged the Coalition Government to look seriously at the ‘real unemployment’ figures and to ‘rethink their economic policies that are having a disastrous effect on jobs and growth’.

The study from Professor Steve Fothergill at Sheffield Hallam University considers not just the official ‘claimant count’ but also those diverted onto other benefits or out of benefits system altogether.

The report claims that unemployment in Middlesbrough is 16.1% and not 8.1% as thought – placing it in the top 10 districts with the highest unemployment. Whilst in Redcar and Cleveland it’s 13.2% not 6.7%.

Tom said:
“Today, the highly reputable Sheffield Hallam Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research have released a report which, for the first time, digs deeply into the real jobless figures for the UK – and the findings are shocking.

“In Middlesbrough, the official Claimant Count figure is 7,580 but this new research puts that figure at 15,100 are idle. In Redcar and Cleveland the Claimant Count is 5,740 – but the total jobless in fact number some 11,400. The figures should act as a wake-up call for the Government. Clearly not enough is being done to create jobs so people can get into work, whilst a lot of effort is being put into hiding the true scale of the problem by splitting the figures into various groups.

“Ministers wouldn’t have to worry about their own jobs if they looked seriously at policies that could get a grip of the scandalous rate of unemployment. This includes actions such as bringing forward infrastructure investment and tax incentives for businesses taking on extra workers.”

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