Jobless claimants increase as more told they are to fit to work

Burnley Jobcentre
Burnley Jobcentre

Jobseekers in Burnley have been increasing steadily over the last year – as more people have been declared fit to work by the Government.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and the new Universal Credit (UC) has increased by 14% from last year – with many people migrating on to those benefits from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

In Burnley, 1,675 people claimed JSA or UC in June – an increase of 205 (14%) on June 2015. However, there was a 589 person decrease from 2010.

Burnley Job Centre’s Ken O’Shea said he believed the increase was due to more stringent fit to work tests introduced by the Government for those claiming ESA.

The Pennine Employer and Partnership Manager said: “The increase in those claiming JSA and UC is not so significant to be a major concern but it is a trend that we have seen over the last year.

“I am concerned enough to do all I can to reverse it. We are trying to change people’s mindsets as to the benefits of working in terms of self-esteem and financially.”

Mr O’Shea said that everyone had a part to play in getting people back to work.

He added: “The jobs market is actually pretty buoyant. There are plenty of vacancies, but we also have to encourage employers on a social responsibility basis to take on some of the more vulnerable groups.

“These include those who have been out of work for a long time, those with health problems and people who have gone through the criminal justice system.”

Local Jobcentres continue to support the BooHoo expansion which requires 20 new recruits each week. Interview sessions are taking place each Wednesday at Burnley Jobcentre.

Mr O’Shea added: “There are vacancies across a range of sectors including hospitality, retail, customer service, construction, warehouse and distribution.

“Colleagues in Jobcentres are working hard to match unemployed jobseekers with the advertised vacancies and encourage employers to recruit through their local jobcentre.

“The hard work is paying off as we are increasingly the recruiter of choice for a number of large prestigious employers.

“We are currently offering jobs with British Telecom, Lancashire County Council, TK Maxx and Marks and Spencer to name but a few.”

A jobs fair will be held on Tuesday at Colne Jobcentre 10am to 1pm.