THE ECONOMY has dominated the news since the first day of this year and Thurrock is not immune. Huge question marks over the future of Petroplus, Bestbuy closes its doors, Peacocks goes into administration and the workers at Unilever in Purfleet walk out on strike.
But perhaps the bleakest piece of news is the youth unemployment figure that sees a 96% increase in youth unemployment in Thurrock.
There were 135 18-24 year olds signing on in Thurrock in January 2011. This has increased to 265 in December 2011.
And the figure is even worse in the constituency of South Basildon and East Thurrock where the figure for the number of young persons unemployed has increased from 65 in January 2011 to 235 by December 2011.
Both figures related to young persons being unemployed for over six months.
In the East of England, unemployment has increased by 18,000 on the previous quarter and now stands at 220,000.
Polly Billington, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Thurrock says,
“Thurrock’s young people deserve better than this. Nationally since January 2011 long term youth unemployment has more than doubled and is up in Thurrock by 96%. The truth behind those figures is that the chances of young people to earn a living and get on are being blocked by a government that thinks unemployment is a price worth paying.
The Tory-led Government’s economic policies are hurting but not working.
“We need something done about this fast. Long term youth unemployment is rising quickly.
“Labour have shown there is a better way, a £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund jobs for young people is part of Labour’s 5 point plan to create jobs and economic growth.
“In the East of England this would create 4,000 jobs and help stop long term youth unemployment scarring our area.”
Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commenting on today’s unemployment statistics, said:
“Last month Chris Grayling told us how the labour market was stabilising, but today’s figures now confirm we have an unemployment emergency.
“Unemployment has now soared to highest level for a generation and long term youth unemployment has more than doubled since January last year. In America, Germany and Japan unemployment is either flat or falling. This is new proof that the Government must change course.
“The Government’s welfare to work programmes are now clearly failing and the welfare bill is going through the roof.
The figures for other areas are: (Jan 2011 figure followed by Dec 2011 figure)
Brentwood and Ongar: 60-80