UNEMPLOYMENT has continued to fall across the Bradford district, reaching its lowest level in more than six years.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell by almost 300, according to the latest figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.

It showed that 11,430 people in the district claimed Jobseeker's Allowance during April, representing 3.5 per cent of the population. This compares to a regional average of 2.6 per cent and a national average of 2.3 per cent.

April’s statistics break down as 7,300 males and 4,130 females claiming the benefit in Bradford.

By constituency, Bradford West continued to have the highest level of claimants with 3,489 people on Jobseeker’s Allowance, which was a drop of 74 on last month and a decrease of 1,388 on last year.


Meanwhile, Keighley had the biggest percentage drop in claimants in the district, with a total of 1,295 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in April, a drop of 54 or four per cent on the previous month, and a decrease of 472 or 26.7 per cent year-on-year.

There has also been a reduction in the number of people aged 18 to 24 claiming unemployment benefit. Last month, 2,585 claimed the benefit, a drop of 1,485 on the previous year, or 36 per cent.

Sue Webster, Bradford relationship manager for Jobcentre Plus, welcomed the drop.

She said: "It's brilliant. None of this has happened by magic. We have been working hard to make this happen. We have been working with employers in Bradford to offer a lot of work experience to 18 to 24 year-olds and that is something that is being rolled out to older job seekers this year in Bradford.

"We also work with local colleges and training providers to offers courses to address the skills gap. And we have a team that work in the community with individuals and families that have been looking for work for a long time and have a lot more challenge to overcome."

She added that a pilot project had just begun in West Yorkshire to offer more help and support to people with health problems that have been long-term unemployed.

"At lot of hard work has been taking place in the background and these figures show it it paying off," she said.

Newly re-elected Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “Naturally, I am delighted that more Keighley and Ilkley residents have found work and that the local unemployment trend remains downward.

“It is further proof that the economy, locally and nationally, remains very much on track for sustained growth and a robust recovery.

“Average pay has also risen by 2.2 per cent over the past three months when compared to the same period last year, putting more of people’s wages into their pockets rather than taken away in tax."

Across the UK, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 12,600 in April to 763,000, the 30th consecutive monthly reduction, although this was the smallest fall since March 2013.