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Bradford dole queues rise for third month in a row
Dole queues across Bradford grew for the third consecutive month in February, with more than 20,000 people in the district claiming out-of-work benefits.
And the number of young people unemployed for half a year or more, which has trebled in two years, also increased for the third month in a row.
Government figures released yesterday show that last month there were 20,223 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Bradford, compared with 20,001 in January and 19,974 a year ago.
Around a quarter of those signing on – 5,870 – were aged 18 to 24 and, of those, 2,195 had been out of work for six months or more.
In January, there were 2,135 people aged 18 to 24 who had been signing on for six months or longer in the district, compared to 660 in January 2011.
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said a major challenge facing the city was its growing population and it was ‘running to stand still’, particularly in the case of youth unemployment.
“We have to create a large number of jobs to keep the unemployment figure at a steady level,” he said. “It’s a real challenge, but one that we as a Council and our public and private sector partners are up for.”
The national unemployment figure rose for the first time in a year and the number of people out of work in Yorkshire increased by 3,000 in the three months to January, with the region’s jobless tally now the second highest in the country.
Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway, whose consituency has the seventh highest unemployment rate of all 650 constituencies in the country, said the Government’s economic measures were not working.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Bradford West rose from 5,622 in January to 5,728 in February – but there were 340 more people out of work than in February last year. Mr Galloway said: “It’s propitious that on the day of the budget the real state of the economy is tragically laid out in these woeful figures.
“Unemployment is well above the national average at 12.5 per cent of those able to work.
“That’s one person in every eight unable to find a job and dependent on benefits – which are repeatedly whittled away.”
In Bradford South, the jobless total rose for the fifth consecutive month, with 4,180 people claiming out-of-work benefits in February compared with 4,168 in January. And there were 71 more claimants than there were last February.
Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “The economy is flatlining and there is no growth. There needs to be investment in capital projects.”
The Bradford East constitency saw 5,662 people claim Jobseekers’ Allowance last month, up from 5,590 in January - an increase of 206 from February last year.
Bradford East Liberal MP David Ward said he would be speaking to Government ministers for ‘emergency short term measures’ to help boost employment, particularly for young people.