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Labour work crowds as jobless rises

PUBLISHED: 14:12 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

ON the day that unemployment figures started to creep up, the cabinet minister responsible for work and pensions was in Ipswich to boost his party's by-election campaign.

ON the day that unemployment figures started to creep up, the cabinet minister responsible for work and pensions was in Ipswich to boost his party's by-election campaign.

Alastair Darling remained confident about the state of the British economy, despite figures showing that the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits rose by 4,300 in October to 951,100, a jobless rate of 3.2%.

It was the first time since last October that the claimant count has risen.

The Government's preferred International Labour Organisation total, which includes jobless people not eligible for benefit, increased by 28,000 between July and September to 1,510,000.

The last time the claimant count and ILO unemployment figures increased at the same time was in January 1993, when the recession of the early 1990s was coming to an end.

The number of people in work fell between July and September, down 24,000 to 28,152,000, because of a big reduction in the number of part-time workers.

"We are not immune to the world situation," said Mr Darling. "But the British economy is strong because of the decisive action we took when we were first elected in 1997.

"There are many schemes and programmes to help people who need to find work – but the overall economy remains strong," he said.

Mr Darling was also keen to get across the message that people are never too young to start saving for their pension.

He was speaking as a survey was published showing nearly half of all pensioners said they did not save enough when they were working to support the lifestyle they wanted during retirement.

Research carried out by AA Financial Services found that 45% of people questioned said they had not made sufficient provisions to support themselves when they gave up work.

"In the long term it is very important that people make provision for their old age so they don't have to worry about what they can afford," he said.

Mr Darling was in town to support the by-election campaign of Labour candidate Chris Mole.

After meeting shoppers on Ipswich Cornhill, he signed up two new members of the Labour Party, 18-year-olds Katy Mellor and Shuma Miah.

However they won't be able to vote for Mr Mole tomorrow week – they live in Hadleigh.

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