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Shock figures show rise in out-of-work young people post lockdown

PUBLISHED: 07:17 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 07:18 20 July 2020

Terry Baxter, chief executive of Inspire Suffolk, said young people working in the hospitality, retail and tourism industries have been hit hardest  Picture: INSPIRE SUFFOLK

Terry Baxter, chief executive of Inspire Suffolk, said young people working in the hospitality, retail and tourism industries have been hit hardest Picture: INSPIRE SUFFOLK

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More than one in 10 young people in some areas of Suffolk are claiming unemployment benefits as a result of lockdown, figures have revealed.

More young people in Suffolk are now claiming unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, figures have revealed  Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PAMore young people in Suffolk are now claiming unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, figures have revealed Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, 4,460 people between the ages of 18-24 were claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC) in the county in June this year – representing 8.4% of the 53,093 in their age group.

In Suffolk, Waveney ranks as having the highest percentage of young claimants at 12% – 850 people – while Ipswich had the highest number of claimants overall at 1,005, representing 11% of the young population. Ipswich saw the highest rise of all constituencies in terms of new claimants compared to March – rising by 6% compared to Waveney’s 4%.

Terry Baxter, CEO of young persons’ charity Inspire Suffolk, said he is not surprised by the figures.

He said: “It isn’t particularly surprising – we have always known that young people in particular have been heavily affected by the lockdown.

“It was always going to hit them harder because of the industries that they tend to find work in, notably the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors, which have all struggled during lockdown.”

In both the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds constituencies, 7% of the young population claiming benefits – and both saw a 4% rise in the number of claimants compared to March.

Outside of Suffolk, Clacton has ranked ninth in the country for the highest youth unemployment rates, with 16.4% of people between 18-24 claiming work-related benefits. The town is one of only two constituencies in the south of England to appear in the highest 10, alongside Croydon North.

The figures come after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2bn “kickstart scheme” to help create more jobs for young people in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and prevent a generation being “left behind”.

Mr Baxter added he believes young people who have previously struggled gaining employment will be hit hardest by the current situation, but said Mr Sunak’s injection may help hold back the tide.

He said: “The good thing is that there are so many organisations out there who are there to help.

“Anything that stops this situation from getting worse is welcomed. Charitable organisations like ourselves who rely on fundraising and events to help others have also been affected.”


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