Jobless figures show big rise in north of county

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More than 16,000 people in the county claimed job seekers allowance last month – the highest figure for nearly two years.

In total 16,368 people made a claim in Northamptonshire during February, including 8,277 people from Kettering, Corby, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough – an increase of about five per cent on the previous month.

The overall county figure is the highest it has been since April 2010.

Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) aims to stimulate the economy to create new jobs, attract investors and help people out of work.

NEP director of economic development Sajeeda Rose said: “The rate has increased here, as it has across the country. We’re in a difficult economic climate and it’s challenging to get people back into employment. For us it’s about supporting people back into work and working to ensure there’s a supply of jobs.”

The percentage of the county’s population aged between 16 and 64 who were on job seekers allowance was 3.7 per cent compared with four per cent in the East Midlands and 4.1 per cent in Great Britain. In Corby there were 2,162 claimants which equates to 6.1 per cent of the population, higher than both the East Midlands and national average. In Wellingborough there were 2,242 claimants last month which equates to 4.6 per cent and, again, is above the East Midlands and national average. In Kettering there were 2,274 claimants which equals 3.9 per cent of the population and in East Northamptonshire there were 1,599 claimants which equates to three per cent.

NEP is working with Job Centre Plus to find out why some employers are struggling to fill vacancies and what skills they need. This information is passed back to Job Centre Plus to make sure applicants access the right training.

NEP is also working with the library service and runs an enterprise hub in Northampton’s Central Library where people can learn about starting up a business.

Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone said: “This is why I’m so in favour of the Rushden Lakes development which will create 2,000 new jobs. I’m also trying to get the Government to relocate departments from London to Wellingborough or Rushden. I’ve put forward a question about whether the business department could move to Wellingborough and I hope to hear back within a few days. It’d be much cheaper for the Government to rent somewhere here and ministers could be back in London within 50 minutes.”