Mixed news for jobless totals

THERE has been a fall in the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Crawley.

Figures from the National Office of Statistics show 50 people across the town stopped claiming benefits between May and June, a fall from 2,190 to 2,140.

In February the number of claimants peaked at 2,420 – the highest number of people claiming since May 2010 – but has continued to fall every month since.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said: “I’m pleased with the fall to 3.9 per cent. It’s encouraging and speaks a lot about the local economy. When I have visited businesses many are in a quite positive mind and obviously taking on individual employees”.

But it is not all good news as the number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months has increased across all age groups.

The number of 18 to 24 year olds increased by 200 per cent, rising from 25 in June 2011 to 75 in June 2012.

The number of 25 to 49 year olds has risen by 85 people in the past year and those aged 50 to 65 has increased by 10 people during the same period.

Mr Smith added: “Youth unemployment is the greatest source of concern. Youth unemployment and those finding themselves in their 50s out of work and trying to get back into it is particularly concerning.

“Apprenticeships are a good pathway into work and getting qualifications at the same time as on the job training.

“The website GatwickDiamondJobs.com is good at matching a particular skill set with existing jobs in the Crawley and Gatwick area. It was launched this year and is something which is quite close to my heart.”

Crawley Labour Group leader Cllr Peter Lamb said: “With a 200 per cent increase in Crawley’s youth unemployment over just 12 months, it’s clear that the Conservative’s policies are failing our town’s young people”. James Bryce