Local Unemployment Falls Sharply

Long Term Jobless Figure Down by 51% for Brentford & Isleworth Constituency

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Local MP Ann Keen has hailed new figures showing that unemployment has fallen to a thirty year low in Britain, with total claimant count at 876,300: the lowest level since 1975. However, her Tory opponent in the next election called the numbers 'more spin that substance' and said that they failed to reflect how wealth creating jobs were being lost.

Long term unemployment in Brentford and Isleworth has fallen 51% since 1997.

Ann Keen said: ' Unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 51% over the last seven years but there’s more to do. We need to secure this economic stability for a generation. We don’t want to return to the depths of recession and unemployment we saw over the last three decades.'

She pointed out that the job-for-life culture of the past was ending but said that making sure the economy was growing and that workers had skills would keep unemployment down. Therefore she is supporting extra investment in apprenticeships, investment in education and support for training and skills development at work.

However she said, that increasing unemployment should not be taken for granted and said, “When Tory leader Michael Howard was Employment Secretary unemployment rocketed by a million. That’s more people than are unemployed in all of Britain under Labour. Now Howard is the Tory leader- and he wants to abolish programmes like the New Deal that help people move off benefits and into work.”

Commenting on the figures, Alexander Northcote, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brentford & Isleworth said that the number were more spin than substance :

"The real reason for the fall is because wealth creating jobs are being lost, while the public sector balloons.  In our very own constituency we are seeing the closure of the Gillette plant - meaning local people are facing redundancy. Gillette are moving their operation to Poland: no surprise when this Government is costing British business an extra £15 billion a year. Meanwhile the Department of Health alone has recruited an extra 30,000 senior managers, administrators and clerical staff since 1997. This is before we look at the six million people claiming sickness benefit."

The reduction in local employment has resulted in the planned closure of the Job Centre at Chiswick meaning a much longer trip for claimants in the area.

May 18, 2004