June 19 2013 Latest news:
Nick Ames, Reporter
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Up in all parts of Kent
The jobless total in Kent soared last month with almost 1,500 more people joining the dole queues.
Statistics released for January show 1,498 people swelled the ranks of the unemployed across the county - three times higher than the figure for December.
The Office for National Statistics says the figure on Jobseekers Allowance for the county is now 37,713.
A major factor in the increase was the 350 workers who lost their jobs in Sheerness after Thamesteel went into administration which contributed to Swale’s unemployed rising by 192 to 3,626.
The Federation of Small Businesses say this set of figures could even be higher in actual fact, as analysts were unsure whether the full number of job losses at the steel plant had been incorporated into the available statistics.
Overall Maidstone was the worst hit area with 325 more people out of work, making its total 2,611.
Medway’s jobless rose by 269, to 7,416 while Dover saw another 134 jobless making a total of 2,735.
In Canterbury jobless figure increased by 131 to 2,582 and in Thanet by 130 to 4,897.
The number of unemployed in Gravesham rose by 114 to 2,843, while Ashford increased by 102 to 2,036.
Dartford’s jobless total increased by 97 to 1,974, while Sevenoaks rose by 83 to 1,388.
Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells recorded increases of 75 to 1,583 and 53 to 1,189 respectively.
The least affected area was Shepway, whose number rose by 25 taking its total to 2,833.
Roger House, FSB Chairman for Kent and Medway said: “The increase in unemployment is clearly disappointing and the jobs market is likely to be challenging for the remainder of the year - our figures show that small firms are actually looking to shed staff. The Government has announced some good initiatives to tackle unemployment but we now need to see these put into action.”
To further worsen the picture FSB national surveys indicate that small firms are now looking to reduce their headcount.
A total of 25 per cent of respondents to the FSB autumn Kent Small Business Barometer recorded a reduction in staffing; only one in five had increase the number of people employed.
But the FSB has welcomed an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that small businesses in Kent and Medway can access cash to help cover the cost of taking on fresh talent through a ‘wage subsidy’. The subsidy will be paid to companies for taking on young unemployed people and is designed to cover costs like National Insurance contributions.
House added: “Wage incentives for businesses that take on apprentices are welcome, especially to tackle youth unemployment that now sits at more than a million. But other measures are needed too. We need to see changes to employment tribunals to encourage firms to employ new workers. This needs to be bolstered by other measures such as ensuring access to the Youth Contract, Work Trials and the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme from day one of signing on for Jobseekers Allowance. We encourage the Chancellor to bring forward these measures at the Budget and build the basis for a sustainable, jobs led recovery.”
The Youth Contract, launched last November, aims to lift all young people out of unemployment. It will also support at least 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices.
The FSB in Kent and Medway is also calling for the Employers’ National Insurance Contributions incentive, available to new businesses in the North and West of the UK, to be extended to businesses in deprived areas of Kent and Medway.
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