Government must do more to help jobless find work, say Chamber of Commerce

The Government must do more to help unemployed people back into the jobs market, says the North East’s leading business organisation.

The comments come as new figures show the region still trails the rest of the UK in terms of the number of people in work and those classed as ‘economically inactive’ – though the gap is shrinking.

Data published by the Office of National Statistics shows the national average unemployment rate in the UK for over-16s between July and September was 3.6%, but 4.2% in the North East.

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The regional employment rate was 71.7%, compared to a national figure of 75.5%, while 21.6% of people nationally were classed as economically inactive, compared to 25.2% in the region.

North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser Callum George said the Government needed to tackle the problems facing people trying to return to work: said: "The figures for November show that - whilst rates of economic inactivity are still concerning - gaps between the North East and the UK are closer than previous months.

"With Prime Minister Sunak’s government announcing their new fiscal plan in two days, it is crucial that those who are struggling to access the job market are accounted for.

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"This means a commitment to training and education, as well as a focus on helping adults back into work who left the labour market during COVID."

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Government must do more to help jobseekers into work, says the North East England Chamber of Commerce

Nationally, unemployment edged higher in the three months to September as the country heads for what is feared will be the longest recession in a century.

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The rate of unemployment stood at 3.6% in the three months to September, up from 3.5% in the three months to August.

Most economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged.

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More people dropped out of the workforce, with a hike in the proportion of people neither looking for work nor working.

Callum George
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that tackling inflation was his “absolute priority” as he prepares to outline a raft of expected tax hikes and spending cuts in this week’s delayed autumn Budget: “That guides the difficult decisions on tax and spending we will make on Thursday.

“Restoring stability and getting debt falling is our only option to reduce inflation and limit interest rate rises.”