Thousands facing second Christmas without work

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (South Durham)

UP to 30,000 people across the region are set to spend their second successive Christmas without a job, according to figures revealed today (Wednesday, December 19).

TUC analysis of official unemployment figures shows that mass long-term unemployment – where a local area has more than 1,000 people that have been in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance for at least a year – is no longer limited to a few employment black spots.

Last month, 149 of the 232 local authority areas across the UK had at least 1,000 long-term Job Seekers Allowance claimants.

In the North-East, 11 of the 12 local authorities have more than 1,000 people set to spend their second Christmas in a row unemployed, with Darlington only 15 under at 985.

County Durham tops the list with the highest number of long term unemployed at 4,800.

Despite a small drop in the region’s unemployment over recent months, long-term unemployment has continued to rise.

There is currently an average of seven times more job seekers than vacancies in the North-East, more than in any other region.

Northern TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: “It is a travesty that nearly 30,000 people in the North-East are set to face the prospect of living a real-life Christmas Carol with their second successive Christmas without a job.

“Unfortunately, this figure doesn’t even take into account those out of work and unable to claim any help or those who have been unemployed less than a year.”

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