Biggest issue facing our town

Hartlepool MP Iain Wrigh

Hartlepool MP Iain Wrigh

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TOWN leaders today voiced their frustration at Hartlepool’s bleak unemployment outlook.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright and the town’s mayor Stuart Drummond have been vocal about the lack of opportunities to help local people into work.

Stuart Drummond

Stuart Drummond

As previously reported by the Hartlepool Mail, Mayor Drummond even wrote to every business in town to see if they could take on one apprentice to improve the situation.

Today he said: “It’s areas like Hartlepool that need help the most to get people into work.

“I would argue we have the biggest problems around unemployment.

“The town has been hit the hardest.”

Speaking about the plight of Wharton Trust’s Access to Employment scheme, he added: “I think everybody in the public and voluntary sector is finding it extremely difficult at the moment.

“Funding pots like the Working Neighbourhoods Fund are no longer there.

“I think in Hartlepool we made the very best use of that sort of thing, as you can see by the figures of people helped into work.

“The number of people helped by the Wharton Trust had a hugely positive effect.

“But there is nothing replacing that sort of funding stream.”

Mr Wright said: “The biggest issue affecting this town at the moment is the level of unemployment and all efforts need to be collated on ensuring that help and support is given to get people into work.

“The example of the Wharton Trust in what they are doing to try to help people into employment shows the Government decision to slash public expenditure is false economy.

“I know the loss of £5m to the town through the Working Neighbourhoods Fund was a big, big blow.

“I am more than happy if the Wharton Trust wants to get in touch and I will take this issue back to central Government.”