South east unemployment rises by 8,000

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Unemployment in the south east rose by 8,000 between December and February, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics today (Wednesday, April 20).

The figures show the number of unemployed people in the region rose to 178,000 while the number of people claiming some form of out of work benefit rose by 1,100 to 55,200. Both figures remain lower than those for the same period last year.

Despite the regional increase, the number of people claiming some form of unemployment benefit in Eastbourne fell by 14 per cent - with 180 fewer claimants in the last period.

In Wealden however the claimant count rose by 9 per cent - with 50 more people claiming some form of unemployment benefit.

Bruce Campbell of the Jobcentre Plus said that the organisation will be taking steps to improve its services in rural areas of Wealden but said the overall employment picture remained positive.

He said, “We will be working with the library service and other partners to make employment advice more accessible in Uckfield, Crowborough and other rural areas of Wealden.”

Nationally unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million, which is the first increase since the May-July period of 2015.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State, Stephen Crabb, said, “We remain in a position of strength, with a record employment rate, wages continuing to grow steadily and three-quarters of a million vacancies available in the labour market.

“The South East currently has the second highest employment rate of any UK country or region at 77.9 per cent.

“Work is essential in transforming the lives of the most disadvantaged people in society and is at the heart of our welfare reforms. We are committed to ensuring that everyone across the country benefits from our strong economy and the opportunities this brings.”

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