Tories stoke row over jobless figures

CONSERVATIVES have claimed that using a different formula to calculate the jobless total puts unemployment in the Ipswich parliamentary constituency at 13 PER CENT.

CONSERVATIVES have claimed that using a different formula to calculate the jobless total puts unemployment in the Ipswich parliamentary constituency at 13 PER CENT.

Theresa May, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, says that in addition to the claimant count for jobseeker's allowance, those receiving incapacity benefit and income support should be included in the total.

Mrs May said the revised figures revealed “the consequence of a wasted Labour decade on welfare reform. We should have helped many of these people back into work years ago when there were plenty of jobs.

“With unemployment soaring, the task of welfare reform will be even more challenging but certainly not one we should back away from.”


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In total, 42 parliamentary constituencies have an unemployment rate of 20% or above when invalidity benefit and income support are added to the jobseekers' allowance. With the exception of a couple of London boroughs, the worst areas for unemployment are the former industrial north and south Wales.

In Ipswich - excluding the four wards in the Suffolk Central & Ipswich North constituency - there are 2,368 on jobseekers' allowance, 4,040 on incapacity benefit, and 1,350 claiming income support making a total of 7,758 out of 57,616 workers aged from 16 to 64 (men) and 59 (women).

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Ipswich Labour MP Chris Mole countered that the only set of figures which could be trusted were those recognised by the International Labour Organisation. He said during the past Tory years, figures had been gerrymandered to reduce unemployment rates.

“I have no doubt that there are more people out of work in the UK than 12 months ago, which is why the Government has strong policies to help people through the downtown,” said Mr Mole. “The `do nothing' Tories have no polices to help with either mortgages or retraining.”

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