We find the one Fenland outlet where staffing levels rocketed by 166 per cent in 2009

By John Elworthy A FENLAND business has seen the number of workers at its Wisbech outlet rocket by 166 per cent in 2009. But this was not a normal success story for the outlet in question was the Wisbech Job Centre whose regular quota of 30 staff has ris

By John Elworthy

A FENLAND business has seen the number of workers at its Wisbech outlet rocket by 166 per cent in 2009.

But this was not a normal success story for the outlet in question was the Wisbech Job Centre whose regular quota of 30 staff has risen to 80 as a result of the recession.

The figures were released today by Alan Pain, corporate director of Fenland District Council, in a report to the Fenland Strategic Partnership.


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Mr Pain says all the additional staff recruited at the Wisbech Job Centre are on 18 month fixed term 'review' contracts.

"The rise in unemployment over the past 12 months has impacted on the services of Jobcentre Plus," says Mr Pain who said Fenland had been particularly hard hit by the recession.

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In the three months to November 2009, he said, there were 2,214 Fenland residents claiming Jobseeker's Allowance compared to 1,426 in the same period of 2008 - a rise of 55 per cent.

But Mr Pain does see some hope on the horizon, with a slight dip in unemployment from 5.6 per cent to 5.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2009.

"Redundancies/jobs at risk notified to Jobcentre Plus has also stabilised and, in most months between June to November, were below levels seen a year ago," he says.

"Business Link East is also now receiving fewer inquiries from businesses about making redundancies and, in the last month, received no inquiries about reducing hours."

Unfilled Jobcentre Plus vacancies in Fenland have also increased month on month since last September "and together with Job Seeker's Allowance claimants per unfilled vacancy falling, indicates increased business activity and confidence" says Mr Pain.

Latest economic forecasts for the area, he says, suggest 0.7 per growth in 2010 and 2.4 per cent growth in 2011.

"The Fenland Business Survey indicates that the Fenland economy is starting to emerge from the recession, but the recovery is fragile.

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