MP calls for Plan B to protect Spen jobs

Wakefield Job Centre.
Wakefield Job Centre.

SPEN MP Mike Wood has called on the government to come up with a viable economic ‘Plan B’ after figures show unemployment is rising in the valley.

During November, the number of people claiming job seekers allowance in Batley and Spen rose for the first time since April.

Mr Wood (Lab) said that the government needed to reassess its economic plan to ensure that unemployment did not rise further in 2012.

In all, there were 2,960 claims made by those out of work.

“These figures look set to get worse next year and we have already seen evidence that the government is trying to hide the real extend of unemployment by changes to the benefit system and throwing people off Jobseekers’ Allowance,” he said.

“What we need is a Plan B. The economy is subject to an investment strike and banks, who are awash with money, refuse to invest to provide the growth and demand that we need.”

More than half of claims in November were made by those aged 25-49, with 1,555 people claiming JSA. This was a slight rise on September and October figures, but short of the April high of 1,675 claims.

Job seekers aged over 50 accounted for 410 claims, but the actual figure could be higher as this age group dips into their savings, rather than signing on.

A third of claims were made by young people aged 18-24, with 995 people receiving unemployment benefits.

However, there was a slight reduction compared to October where that figure stood at 1,065.

Mr Wood suggested that investing in infrastructure, using the banks’ funds, would deliver a boost to economies in areas like Batley and Spen.

He added: “What we should be doing is insisting that the banks, which are largely tax payer owned, invest in infrastructure and green jobs.

“The result would be that in the face of a threatened double dip recession, we could begin to kick start the economy. That’s the way you can provide what we really need – jobs.”