Barnsley’s unemployed are ‘forgotten’, claims MP

A woman looking into the window of a job centre.
A woman looking into the window of a job centre.
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A NATIONAL fall in the headline rate of unemployment is not reflected in Barnsley, where stats show a very different picture.

And an MP for the east of Barnsley claims the town, that shows big rises in youth and long-term unemployment, has been forgotten at Westminster.
Michael Dugher MP points to recent unemployment figures, that show the number of people claiming Jobs Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Barnsley has jumped to 7,880 – an increase of six per cent on the previous month and 13 per cent over the last two years. 
Figures for youth unemployment and long-term youth unemployment in Barnsley are also up. The number of 18-24 year olds claiming JSA in Barnsley is now 2,485 - up from 2,370 in December 2012. And the number of 18-24 year olds claiming JSA for more than 12 months in Barnsley is now 530 – an increase of four per cent on the previous month and a massive increase of 194 per cent over the last two years.
In Michael’s Barnsley East constituency, the total number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months is now 955, up from 920 on the previous month and up from 645 a year ago.
Across South Yorkshire, the number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months is 13,275, a rise of 43 per cent in the last year. 
Commenting on the new unemployment statistics, Michael said: “I welcome the national fall in the headline rate of unemployment, but the figures show a very different picture in Barnsley. 
“The total number of people claiming Jobs Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Barnsley has jumped to 7,880. And figures for youth unemployment and long-term youth unemployment in Barnsley are also up yet again. Ministers seem happy to forget about places like Barnsley.
“The Government’s welfare to work programmes are clearly not working and it is time for Ministers to get a grip before a generation is left scarred by their failure.”
He continued: “There are many things Ministers could do to help. They should introduce a “Real Jobs Guarantee” scheme for young people, which would tackle the problem of long-term youth unemployment by providing a six-month paid placement, preferably in the private sector, for all 18-24 year olds who have been unemployed for more than twelve months. This would help 530 young people in Barnsley alone.
“And they should introduce a “Compulsory Jobs Guarantee” for anyone out of work for more than two years. This would help hundreds of people in Barnsley and nearly 14,000 across Yorkshire. Those who can work would be required to take up jobs, given training and time to job search - or they would lose their benefits. We simply cannot afford to let people languish on the dole for years.
“In next month’s Budget, we need to see an industrial strength back to work programme to match the crisis we face.”

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