Leeds jobless count hits a new low

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LEEDS is slowly winning its battle with unemployment and reducing its burden on the welfare state, according to new figures.

There are currently 16,000 people in the city on Jobseekers’ Allowance, almost FORTY per cent less than the February 2013 peak, up to date figures from the region’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have revealed.

Young people aged 18 to 24 account for a quarter of the overall jobless - but again this is FORTY FIVE per cent down on the peak of February 2012. There are also 59,000 people claiming key benefits in Leeds, 12 per cent less than the February 2010 peak.

Overall, the figures - taken as a whole - mean the city has hit a six-year low in terms of its once bleak jobs and welfare scenes, experts have said.

The figures were revealed at a Leeds City Council meeting, where managers for the DWP also laid out plans to further fight unemployment with a new “digital by default” approach to services for jobseekers.

Ian Hunter, district manager for JobCentre Plus, said: “With the JobCentre Plus, with the local authority and partners working together, we are seeing some significant reductions in people claiming out of work benefits.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said: “As a council we are keen to continue our work with a wide range of partners, service providers and the DWP to support and provide opportunities for people to gain employment.

“We are really pleased to have seen a rise in the number of apprenticeships being taken up by both employers and jobseekers and we will continue to build on this success. There are many new developments coming to the city so we are also working closely with businesses and employers to create jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for local residents, and the development of our jobshop programme.”

>Tomorrow: The light and the shade of the jobseeking journey - Leeds jobseekers share their differing experiences.

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