FENLAND: Unemployment hitting district worse than anywhere else in Cambridgeshire
By John Elworthy UNEMPLOYMENT is hitting Fenland worse than anywhere else in Cambridgeshire, according to a newly published report. Paul Medd, executive director of Fenland District Council, said: Fenland remains as the only district to have an unemplo
By John Elworthy
UNEMPLOYMENT is hitting Fenland worse than anywhere else in Cambridgeshire, according to a newly published report.
Paul Medd, executive director of Fenland District Council, said: "Fenland remains as the only district to have an unemployment rate higher than the regional figure and now also has a rate above the national figure of 4.1 per cent."
Mr Medd, who also chairs the Fenland Economic Development Partnership, uses as an example, figures for April, which show there were 2,252 people in Fenland claiming Jobseeker's Allowance compared to 1,171 in April 2008.
He said the current economic climate continues to lead to higher volumes of benefits claim as more people look for help in paying their rent and council tax.
"For example, in Fenland the benefits service are averaging 100 new claims each week and the number of customers receiving benefit is also increasing, currently 8,998 overall, an increase of 8.55 per cent (709) since April 2008," he says.
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The Fenland unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent has led to increased demand for services at Job Centres, he says, and in Cambridgeshire the Government has approved 50 new staff to help deal with inquiries.
Mr Medd's report, presented to this month Fenland Strategic Partnership, points out that the impact of the economic downturn has started to be felt by young people especially.
In Fenland there are 840 youngsters not in education, employment or training and whilst some new apprenticeships are being offered there is evidence of existing ones being withdrawn.
One upside to the economic downturn has been the numbers of people now considering going into business themselves as a response to fears of lay off and redundancy.
"Business Link reported that one call in every six was from individuals looking for advice on starting their own business," says Mr Medd.
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