A third of Sunderland jobless aged under 25

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ONE in three people looking for work on Wearside is under 25, new figures reveal.

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there were 3,290 people aged 18 to 24 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Sunderland last month, out of a total of 9,465 claimants.

The claimant rate among under-25s is 11.4 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent overall.

There was some good news last month, however, with the total number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance showing a slight fall, down 186 from 9,651 to 9,465.

The figures show a clear gender split.

While the number of men looking for work dropped by 207, from 6,682 to 6,475, the number of women claimants actually rose from 2,969 to 2,990, a rise of 21.

Union leaders and Labour MPs lined up to slam Coalition policy, as the ONS figures showed unemployment rising by 11,000 in the North East, despite a national fall of 17,000.

“The worrying thing is that the public sector job losses haven’t even started to kick in yet,” said Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson.

“I fear that the Government’s lack of a coherent strategy for growth, as well as their huge cuts to regional development, will mean that the private sector will not be able to step in to offer the jobs and training opportunities people in my constituency, and across the North East, really need.”

Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said: “The Government says it’s helping with its Regional Growth Fund, but the money available is just a fraction of what was available to regional development agencies.

“The Government is cutting too deep, too fast, and it must do more to boost growth and encourage the private sector right across the North East.”

North East TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: “Today’s sorry figures from the ONS once again demonstrate that the Government’s public sector cuts are the wrong move to make, and are doing more harm than good to an already fragile economy.

“It is painful to see our region and its people shouldering so much of the burden, for a situation not of their own making, despite clear alternatives that seek to redress the balance and ensuring those who are to blame take responsibility.

“The Government needs to be doing more to support private sector enterprise and growth, not just paying lip service if regions like ours are to arrest this downward spiral, and be able to offer a future with possibilities for the next generation.”

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