East London jobless soar above London average


Pic: Laurence Dodds

Unemployment in east and south-east London has risen faster than the London average according to recent ONS figures.

City-wide jobseeker applications rose 10.8 per cent to over 236,900 in the past year, but shot up by 16 per cent in east London.

Tower Hamlets and Croydon have both seen applications rise by over 13 per cent while Hackney and Lewisham’s unemployment rates increased by 12.5 and 11 per cent respectively.

The figures do not include people who are unemployed but fail to apply for Jobseeker Allowance.

The number of JSA claimants in Hackney and Lewisham has risen since 2010 from 9,987 to 11,243 and 9,475 to 10,562, respectively. In Croydon there were 9,551 claimants in 2010 and 10,147 this year, while Tower Hamlets saw an increase of 10,147 to 11,486.

John Biggs, City and East London Assembly Member, said: “I am deeply concerned by today’s unemployment figures, which are a shocking indictment of the government’s failing economic policies. It is time for Boris Johnson and the government to change course and abandon their reckless economic plan.”

Youth unemployment has also risen by 14.6 per cent in London and nationally it now stands at over one million. 286,000 of the young people are in full-time education.

67,000 more young people, aged 16 to 24, were registered as unemployed in the three months to June 2011.

In February, Lewisham was among the ten worst unemployment areas in the country, with almost 36 per cent of all 16 to 24-year-olds being out of work. Levels of joblessness in Hackney and Croydon were also reported to be over 33  per cent.

Dianne Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Labour’s shadow health minister, said: “Since January there has been at 80.6 per cent rise in young people on the dole for over six months in Hackney. The real worry will be that we are seeing the scar of long term youth unemployment return to our area.”

She went on: “The brutal price our young people are paying for this government’s economic policy is now crystal clear.”

But Chris Grayling, MP and Employment Minister, blamed the Eurozone crisis for the increase in unemployment. He added: “Our challenge in the autumn statement will be to put in place additional measures to support growth and create employment opportunities, especially for young people.”

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, reacted to the figures in his blog: “Each individual will have his or her own story to tell, and many will be heartbreaking. For some older workers, there will be the fear of not finding work again. For many of the younger members of our community, there will be anger and frustration at the lack of opportunity.”

Tower Hamlets council is among many trying to promote apprenticeships as university applications fall across London, EastLondonLines reported this week. The number of people showing interest in vocational schemes has soared since lat year.

Rahman also appeared to criticise the stance of Grayling, saying: “It is no use blaming the problems of the Euro zone for the worst unemployment in over a generation.”

The increase in women claiming JSA is substantially more than that of men. The increase in men claiming JSA is 6.8 per cent, and for women is 16.3 per cent. Across the UK unemployment now stands at 2.62 million.

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