Benefit claims rise

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The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire region has risen.

Altogether in the region, only Chichester and Gosport saw numbers of JobSeekers Allowance claimants fall in October, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Chichester’s figures fell by 14, from 1,328 in September to 1,314 in October.

Gosport’s figures fell by just three, from 1,592 in September to 1,589 last month.

The biggest rise in claimants was recorded for Portsmouth, with figures there rising by 39.

They went from 4,983 to 5,022 in October.

Elsewhere, Havant’s figures rose by 37, from 2,368 in September to 2,405 in October.

Fareham’s rose by 36, from 1,209 to 1,245.

In east Hampshire, the numbers rose by 35 – the highest rise in proportion to the number of claimants – from 963 to 998.

Nationally, the claimant count rose by 10,100 last month to 1.58m, the highest level since July.

But figures looking specifically at the level of unemployment in the country – rather than just those who claim Jobseekers Allowance – found it had fallen to its lowest level for a year.

It fell by 49,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to September, taking the jobless rate to 7.8 per cent from 7.9 per cent.

The ONS said that almost all the 49,000 fall was due to a decline in youth unemployment.

Fareham MP Mark Hoban, who is minister for employment, said: ‘It’s good news to see yet another increase in the number of people in work and to see unemployment fall again. The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we’re not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us.

‘We’re working hard to help the long-term unemployed back into a job.

‘That’s why we’ve committed to supporting the hardest-to-help people over a two-year period through the Work Programme so that we can help them overcome their barriers to work and get them into sustainable jobs.’