WIGAN’s yo-yo unemployment figures took another lurch up in December.
In a month when hopes are high of seasonal work boosting job statistics, the number claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance rose by 173.
It followed the national trend and a further, smaller rise locally in November. However there was a little good news in that the number of under-25s, who make up a large portion of the borough’s jobless, fell for the second month running, albeit only by 10 to 2,930.
And it is not all doom for individuals either. Graham Brown is now out of the mire after nine months on benefits following the collapse of work in the building industry where he was previously employed. A friend suggested he should look into setting up his own delivery business. The 46-year-old from Hawkley Hall was aware that it was a competitive industry, but with no other specific qualifications to his name – apart from a clean driving licence – he thought it was worth a shot.
He said: “I spoke to my Jobcentre Plus adviser and was told about the New Enterprise Allowance – a financial boost for unemployed people looking to become self-employed – and through that I also attended a number of seminars to prepare me for running a business, and to give me some much needed guidance on the book-keeping that goes with it.
“My delivery business Wigan Couriers has now been up and running for four months, and while it’s still early days, the venture is so far proving successful.”
Dr Brian Sloan, Chief Economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Continuing government policy around the benefits system and a weakening economy are likely to causing an increase in JSA claimants in the months ahead, as job creation in the private sector is weakening.
“We needed to see more urgent government action on proposed infrastructure projects, credit easing and reducing the legislative burden on business to improve the domestic economy’s growth prospects, and with it the hope of job creation.”