MP Reveals Shocking Job Centre Figures

March 12, 2009 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Fighting to Save Jobs in RochdaleCompetition for limited job vacancies is becoming a major problem in Rochdale in the face of the economic downturn.

Rochdale currently has 319 job vacancies yet there are reportedly 2,960 people claiming Jobseeker's allowance in the town.

In the 351 parliamentary constituencies across the country Jobseekers outnumber vacancies by an average of five to one; in Rochdale this figure stands at an alarming nine to one.

Rochdale's MP Paul Rowen has spoken out in parliament about the figures, which were released earlier this week.

Paul Rowen said: "Apart from the loss of a family home or bereavement there can be few things more traumatic than the loss of ones job. Unlike previous recessions unemployment is not restricted to male manual workers across Rochdale. Unemployment is in fact rising across all employment sectors and the younger people of Rochdale have had it particularly hard."

Mr Rowen was speaking at an unemployment debate as part of his role as Shadow Works and Pensions Spokesperson and took the time to share the experience of a former Rochdale Woolworth's employee that he had recently spoken too.

He said: "The kind of support that my constituent and former Woolworth's employee expected after the loss of her job was advice on bill payment, debts, council tax, opportunities to retrain, grants and bursaries available etc… However the Job Centre Plus is woefully understaffed to cope with the numbers of people looking for work. She described her experience at the Job Centre as feeling like she was in a 'cattle market'.

"Many of these people are not currently long term unemployed and have never been unemployed before. It is not just advice on benefits and job seeking that they need but the debt counselling, mortgage advice etc. If your weekly income suddenly drops from £500 per week to £60.50 radical lifestyle changes are needed and people need help and support to make those changes.

"The Government needs to do much more to help those who become unemployed as a result of the current economic turmoil. Schemes like the New Deal need to be extended and offer support to the many competent, qualified people who are losing their jobs as a result of the current poor economy."