MPs worried over long term jobless

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LONG term unemployment has risen by nearly 70 per cent in 12 months in Doncaster, figures have revealed.

Figures for the number of people in the borough claiming Jobseekers Allowance for more than 12 months increased by 68 per cent for the year from October 2011 to October 2012, according to official statistics.

The total in October 2011, which then 1,680, rose to 2,820 by the same month this year.

Of the borough’s three parliamentary constituencies, Doncaster Central saw the greatest increase with the number of long term claimants living there rising from 680 to 1,145. It is the highest figure in the borough.

Doncaster North saw its figures up from 575 to 955, while Don Valley saw the number of long term claimants rise.

Doncaster North MP and Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has raised concerns about the figures.

He said: “The government’s economic failure means that long-term unemployment is becoming a serious problem in our area, as these figures confirm.

“All this comes at a time when the squeeze on families across Doncaster is getting tighter and tighter, as prices rise and cuts are made to working tax credits.

“David Cameron urgently needs a plan to get the country’s economy moving again, creating opportunities for jobs and growth.”

No comment was available from the Department of Works and Pensions yesterday.

But ministers have said tens of thousands of long-term unemployed were getting off benefits and into jobs through the Government’s work programme.

Their figures last month showed that at least 56 per cent of the scheme’s earliest participants had come off benefits, with 19 per cent spending at least six consecutive months off benefits.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said: “The Work Programme is succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work.”