19:22 Monday 28 January 2013

Wheale and Griffiths in youth dole queues fight

Written byJOSHUA TAYLOR

THE man hoping to become Burton’s next Labour MP has accused the Government of ‘leaving young people behind’ after figures revealed a rise in year-on-year long-term youth unemployment.

Jon Wheale (top left) attacked the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition after official statistics showed there were 70 people aged between 18 and 24 in the Burton constituency who had been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for more than a year, as of last month. This was up from 15 in December 2011 — a 367 per cent year-on-year increase.

South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire also saw increases during the same period, from 25 to 80 and 50 to 95 respectively.

Mr Wheale said: “An increase of long-term youth unemployment of 367 per cent is shocking and completely unacceptable.

“I am very concerned that some adults and many young people are being left behind as a result of the failing economic policies of a failing Tory-led government.”

Mr Wheale said this rise was ‘nothing to celebrate’ and ‘simply unacceptable’.

But Andrew Griffiths (bottom left), Burton’s current Conservative MP, hit back by saying that the overall JSA claimant count in the town had fallen for the past nine consecutive months. Mr Griffiths said his Labour opponent was ‘desperate’ to find bad news.

The MP said: “The Labour Party conveniently forgets that not only are there 500 fewer people unemployed in Burton than when we inherited the disaster from the previous Labour government, youth unemployment is continuing to fall.

“Mr Wheale has overlooked the fact that while long-term unemployment has increased by just 55, short-term youth unemployment is down.

“The Government has invested £1 billion in the youth contract to tackle youth unemployment and has created more than 900 apprenticeships last year in Burton alone.”

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