Dole queues in Wakefield get longer

Wakefield Job Centre.
Wakefield Job Centre.

A RISE in youth unemployment has pushed the district’s jobless figure to its highest for 18 months.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance rose to 9,231 in August, up 273 on the previous month.

Most of the rise was among 18-24-year-olds after 235 more young adults joined the dole queue.

It was the first time the Wakefield JSA figure broke through the 9,000 mark since March and its highest since February 2010.

Female unemployment has also risen by more than 20 per cent in the city over the past year and is at its highest nationally since the 1980s.

More women than men are affected by public sector job cuts and changes to childcare benefits which have left rising numbers on the dole.

Nationally, unemployment rose by 80,000 to 2.51m in the three months to June, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

It was the sharpest national rise since August 2009, when the economy was still in recession, after 110,000 public sector jobs were lost in the same period.

Hundreds of thousands more public sector jobs are set to be slashed under spending cuts by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Government bosses hope to boost the role of private companies, which will create jobs to make up the shortfall.

But opposition MPs are calling for the spending cuts to be reduced to halt the rise in joblessness.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said: “We are seeing more women out of work in Wakefield, mostly from the public sector, and there are now more 18-24 year olds on benefits than at any point during the recession.

“With more people losing their jobs and the cost of living rising each month, people are worried that we are could slip back into recession.

“The government needs to get on with a Plan B before it is too late.”