Gloom deepening as jobless toll rises again

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UNEMPLOYMent in South Yorkshire is continuing to rise with 2,000 more people out of work across the county in the past month.

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts’ constituency has seen 187 more people out of work between December and January with jobseekers’ allowance claimants as a proportion of people of working age rise from 4.7 per cent to five per cent.

He said: “It really is an extremely gloomy picture. I think the economy is on a knife-edge in terms of whether we will slip back into recession.

“The problem of rising unemployment is also affecting the Government’s financial plans because of falling income from taxes and rising benefits claims.

“They had to borrow £150 million more in the autumn than anticipated.”

Unemployment in all six Parliamentary constituencies covering Sheffield rose by between 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent over the last month, with the city’s total number of jobseekers’ allowance claimants rising from 17,846 to 18,648.

The figures also include the part of Barnsley borough included in Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “Unemployment has increased again and is at its highest level for 16 years.

“Last week, we announced the £55 million of cuts that the Government are forcing us to make in Sheffield this year alone, but councils in the wealthiest areas of the country are receiving no cuts at all.”

Doncaster has seen some of the largest rises in job seekers’ allowance claimants over the last month, up from 6.1 per cent to 6.8 per cent in Doncaster Central, where the number of claimants is now 4,296, and Labour leader Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North constituency has seen a rise from 5.6 per cent to 6.2 per cent, or 3,721 claimants.

Barnsley Central Labour MP Dan Jarvis was told unemployment in his constituency has risen for a seventh consecutive month.

It now stands at 9.6 per cent of the workforce, with 291 more people losing their jobs between December and January, taking the total to 3,032.

He said: “Many people were in short-term work over the Christmas period, but now find themselves back on the dole queue.

“David Cameron told us before the General Election that when he was Prime Minister, unemployment levels would fall every single month he was in office.”

In Rotherham parliamentary constituency, unemployment rose from 6.9 per cent of the workforce to 7.3pc, from 3,903 to 4,154.

But nationally the figures also show that growth in overall unemployment over the three months to December, of 48,000 was the smallest rise in almost a year. Overall unemployment was 2.67 million in December but January statistics are not yet available.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in January increased by 6,900 to 1.6 million.