Huge rise in ‘abandoned’ job seekers

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UNEMPLOYMENT has soared in parts of South Yorkshire over the past year with the total in some parts of Sheffield rising by almost one fifth over the last year, latest statistics reveal.

There are now 18,176 people unemployed in the six parliamentary constituencies covering Sheffield and 43,430 in South Yorkshire as a whole.

The numbers of jobseekers’ allowance claimants rose by as much as 22 per cent over the 12 months to October in Denis MacShane’s Rotherham constituency and 18 per cent in Sheffield Central.

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett said of the huge number of youth unemployed: “We are seeing the abandonment of what will in future become a ‘lost generation’.

“Young people without a purpose, without hope, without a reason for getting out of bed in the morning.”

He called for a national volunteer programme for out of work youngsters to learn skills to help gain employment.

Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield said: “The Government is failing this generation. Unemployment in my constituency is up 20 per cent in the last year so we need a jobs plan and we need it fast.

“My big fear is that without urgent action we’ll have a lost generation even worse than we saw in Sheffield in the 1980s.

“The Government must change their economic course. By cutting too far and too fast they’ve choked our economic recovery, but there is a better way.

“A £2 billion tax on bank bonuses would fund 100,000 jobs for young people. The Government should also bring forward new investment projects in transport and school building which would create new construction and engineering jobs.

“There should be more focus on youth apprenticeships to train the next generation of skilled workers.

“While there has been a 900 per cent increase in apprenticeships for the over 60s, long-term youth unemployment has risen by 83 per cent since January. It demonstrates how Government policies are failing to tackle youth unemployment.”

Unison regional secretary John Cafferty said: “These figures are an economic and social disaster.

“Local councils have already shed thousands of jobs and are warning that Government cuts will mean thousands more to come - with compulsory redundancies now on the agenda as opportunities for voluntary redundancies are exhausted.

“These job losses will not only devastate individuals, families and whole communities, they will have a massive negative impact on private sector jobs, driving up employment in that sector as millions of pounds are sucked out of our economy to rapidly reduce the deficit and protect the bankers’ bonuses.

“Growth has stalled, unemployment keeps rising, families are struggling to make ends meet and young people are losing hope. Time to avoid a double-dip recession is running out.

“The government must stop dithering and act now to grow our economy.”

JOBSEEKERS’ ALLOWANCE PERCENTAGE RISE:

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough: 16.1%

Sheffield Central: 18%

Sheffield Heeley: 18%

Sheffield Hallam: 9.5%

Sheffield South East: 16.2%

Penistone and Stocksbridge: 9%

Barnsley Central: 7.8%

Barnsley East: 8.3%

Rotherham: 22%

Rother Valley: 7.8%

Wentworth and Dearne: 10.3%

Doncaster North: 14.9%

Doncaster Central: 13.8%

Don Valley: 14.1%

Bassetlaw: 20.4%

Chesterfield: 10%

North East Derbyshire: 12.8%

Bolsover: 18.7%