MP calls for North East minister in wake of youth unemployment figures

MP for Newcastle East Nick Brown has called for the Government to appoint a Minister for the North East to tackle to the region's problems

Newcastle East MP Nick Brown
Newcastle East MP Nick Brown

An MP has said the rising number of young people claiming benefits in the region is further proof of the desperate need to re-instate a minister for the North East within the current Government.

People under the age of 24 claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has climbed to 19,905 – almost 3,000 more than were receiving it in 2010.

Parts of County Durham have been the worst affected with a rise of 24% in Sedgefield with 145 more youngsters signing on than three years ago.

In Tyne and Wear nearly 10,000 under 24s are now claiming unemployment benefit.

South Shields has seen a rise of 11% to 1,130 people, Newcastle Central a rise of 9% with Jarrow and Wansbeck both seeing rises of 8%. The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions also reveal long term unemployment among the young – those claiming JSA for more than 12 months – has also risen.

MP for Newcastle East Nick Brown, said: “Total unemployment is steadily rising in East Newcastle. Even more depressingly, the long-term rate is steadily growing.

“The most important measure to turn this around would be for the Government to appoint a Minister for the Region, to spearhead private sector job creation initiatives that would broaden and deepen our region’s private sector economy.”

The Labour representative previously held the position between 2007 and 2010 under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown however the role was scrapped by the coalition Government.

His call for the position to be revived as Parliament returns from its summer break comes as figures show youngsters on JSA in his constituency fell by just 40 people in three years.

The only place to see a significant number of people move off the benefit and into work was Sunderland Central where 155 fewer people now claim JSA.

Mr Brown believes a regional minister role would better fuse the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and business leaders in creating private sector jobs. However previous incentive schemes proposed by the current Government have been met with scepticism.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s promise to help Tyneside’s young unemployed with his £50m Youth Contact scheme has been criticised for barely scratching the surface of the region’s jobs crisis by the Northern TUC. However national cuts to the career service and the cost of public transport for young people living in the region’s rural areas were put forward as reasons why the idea struggle to get off the ground.


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