COMMENT - Grim start

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AFTER a rollercoaster year for unemployment in Wigan, the sight of a rise of almost 600 jobless in the first month of 2012 makes bleak reading.

It is one of the biggest hikes in Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants the borough has seen and, understandably, many people will now be on tenterhooks over what the months ahead will hold.

The council’s ruling party says the Government needs to do more to help create jobs, particularly for under-25s who make up a disproportionate amount of Wigan adults out of work. But no big breakthrough offers of extra training aid or job-spinning major building and infrastructure funding look unlikely.

However, there is some hope to cling onto. Unemployment in Wigan is lower than it was a year ago and the number of vacancies advertised in local job centres are up by a fifth.

And while everyone is struggling, Wigan is faring a lot better than most of its Greater Manchester neighbours.

But we cannot kid ourselves that it isn’t going to be another tough year.