Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 12°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Poll: West Suffolk Jobseekers Allowance claimants down by 1,500 in a year - but is it all good news?

06:30 17 July 2014

Almost 1,500 people across west Suffolk have got back into work over the past year in a big boost to the region’s economy - but doubts persist over whether the numbers are all they seem.

New figures show the numbers of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance across Babergh, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury fell at a rate way above the county and national average over the past year.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock and St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader John Griffiths hailed the news, saying it was vindication for the Government’s economic policy and the council’s action at local level.

However, local councillors expressed doubts about the quality of work on offer in the region, while the Citizens Advice Bureau said a 50% rise in disciplinary action against claimants was having a particularly bad affect on west Suffolk’s rural communities.

West Suffolk MP Mr Hancock said: “It is fantastic news that many of those finding new jobs are young people; youth unemployment has fallen by 52% in the last 12 months in west Suffolk.

“Although there’s a lot more to do, these figures show that our long-term economic plan is working.”

Lynne Rawlings, manager of Newmarket Citizens Advice Bureau, said sanctions for those on Jobseekers Allowance across the eastern region rose from 326 in 2012/13 to 487 for 2013/14.

Claimants often get sanctions for missing appointments, which can result in them being docked four weeks of benefits.

“If you think about the community we serve, if there’s only a bus into Newmarket twice a week, a taxi fare from where I live to the nearest job centre would cost £40 return,” Ms Rawlings said.

“It’s a challenge, especially when you’re living in a rural location, and people need support to get back into work. If you sanction somebody, they get back into debt.”

Mr Griffiths pointed to council initiatives such as the eastern relief road in Bury St Edmunds and the Haverhill Research Park, as well as work with West Suffolk College and St Edmundsbury’s annual business festival, as measures it had taken to create jobs and growth.

“This is great news and shows that the hard work of St Edmundsbury and our many partners is reaping rewards,” he said.

“Economic growth is one of the three cornerstones underpinning the work of St Edmundsbury and its West Suffolk partner Forest Heath.”

Mark Ereira Guyer, a Green Party borough and county councillor for Bury, said “undoubtedly there was some good news” with the figures.

However, he added: “I’d just be interested to know what sorts of jobs they’re going into - are they zero hours, are they part time? Any job is worth having, but we need to know what the quality of these jobs are.

“A lot of people in their relationship with the economy are in a very precarious situation.

“Let’s not get carried away, and let’s drill down to see what these jobs are and whether they’re the precarious ones.”

His sentiment was echoed by Newmarket town and district councillor Michael Jeffreys, who this week was selected as West Suffolk’s Labour candidate for next year’s general election.

“We’re seeing a recovery now that is two or three years later than it should be,” he said.

“It’s really good that we’re now getting back to improved levels of employment, but the one thing I would say in west Suffolk, what we have too often are low-wage jobs.”

Forest Heath District Council leader James Waters was another who welcomed the news.

“Set against the national picture, Forest Heath and West Suffolk are outperforming the rest of the UK by 20% in terms of delivering employment for our residents,” he said.

“One of our main priorities, as a council and as a West Suffolk partner with St Edmundsbury, is to help create and support jobs, so I am delighted by this news.”

Drop in numbers of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance June 2013 to June 2014:

Forest Heath -399 (49% drop)

St Eds -624 (42% drop)

Babergh -441 (40.7% drop)

Suffolk 37.4% drop

UK 29.1% drop

2 comments

  • Claimants are "encouraged" to go on The Work Programme by Jobcentres. That removes them from the register. The Work Programme is an appalling waste of taxpayer's money. The only beneficiaries are the programme providers who, at every turn, try to con more money from DWP with phoney job creation.

    Report this comment

    James Lakin

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

  • Smoke, mirrors, spin, wishful thinking and downright lies. A fall in benefit payments or claims does not adduce an increase in employment.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

England football supporters watching the England v Iceland Euro 2016 match in The Gardeners Arms, Ipswich.

It has been a night of heartbreak for England fans as they say goodbye to their dreams of reaching the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Demolition of The Garland pub in Humber Doucy Lane.

Demolition work has started on a 19th century pub in Rushmere St Andrew.

Oliver Hindle

The parents of a young Ipswich boy who has cystic fibrosis have launched a fundraising appeal to buy a life-changing piece of equipment that will help him be more independent.

Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality has launched a campaign called #SuffolkSolidarity, which is being supported by nine other organisations.

Do not let Britain’s decision to leave the European Union damage Suffolk’s reputation as a welcoming and tolerant community.

Murrayfield Primary School

Children from poor or troubled families have “no excuses” for failing at school, an Ipswich headteacher has said.

Day Care Sister, Kate Barber

Pocket Pig is more than just a craft project, he gave hospice day care patients the chance to get involved in the Pigs Gone Wild trail and feel a part of their community.

Official launch of the Pigs Gone Wild Trail in Ipswich

The pigs have arrived – and already Ipswich is abuzz with talk about the town’s larger-than-life art trail.

The QD store in St Mathews Street, Ipswich has closed down.

Discount store QD has closed down its last remaining store in Ipswich after a fall in sales, the company has announced.

Martin Hardman

Fear is mounting for a 66-year-old who has been reported as missing not long after he had hospital treatment.

Starbucks in the Buttermarket which is set to close on March 19th.

A third Starbucks coffee shop is set to open in Ipswich, it has been announced – just a year after the chain pulled out of its store in the Buttermarket.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24