Wiganers stuck on the dole

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NEARLY half of Wigan’s job-seekers have been unemployed for six months or more.

Figures released by the GMB union show that 45.8 per cent of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance - or 4,400 people - have been doing so for half a year or longer.

The figure is above the North West average of 44.8 per cent and ninth out of 23 in the region.

For the North West Region 91,325 of the 204,337 total unemployed claimants in April 2012 had been out of work for six months or more. At 44.8 per cent this is the seventh highest percentage for all 12 regions in the UK. For the UK as a whole 49.7 per cent of the 1.61 million unemployed claimants in April 2012 had been out of work for six months or more.

Paul McCarthy, GMB Regional Secretary said: “The region was the university for skilled workers which brought this country great wealth by their industrial efforts.

“This massive and irresponsible waste of the human talent and of the skills we need to rebuild our economy shows the complete lack of an industrial policy the nation so badly needs. That there are 2.63 million people without jobs across the UK shows the extent to which the government gamble with the economy has failed. It is time for the Government to wake up and stop squandering the nation’s skills and talents.

“So instead of borrowing to support the economy and to continue the recovery the government has had to borrow to fund the recession. We have spent the last two years going backwards and this is why the electorate have voted down this failed policy.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) say they are running various programmes to try and help people who have been out of work for long periods get back into employment.

The DWP say that so far, over 3,000 Wiganers have been referred to the Work Programme which is for those people who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

The number of Wiganers’ claiming JSA has fallen in the last two months.