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Dole queue misery as jobs disappear

Dole claimants now out number job vacancies advertised in Medway by 18 to 1.

According to figures released by the Trades Union Congress [TUC) there were only 293 jobs in Medway in January 2009 but more than 5,000 people claiming job seekers allowance.

In January 2008 there were 800 jobs in Medway and 3,464 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

When compared to other local authorities Medway has seen the 12th biggest fall in the number of vacancies in the last year.

The TUC believes these findings prove the Government’s often repeated claim that there is plenty of work still available is no longer credible and that is must now accept unemployment is a national emergency.

A TUC spokesperson said; "Medway has been hit hard by the downturn and the number of job vacancies has fallen much faster than in most other local authorities.

"The Government must strain every sinew to keep people in work and create jobs for those made redundant."

To help limit further job losses, increase the number of vacancies and provide extra help for the unemployed, the TUC is calling on the government to:

Give short-term wage subsidies to viable firms who are struggling with credit subsidies, topping up workers wages and preventing unnecessary and costly job losses; introduce major public investment programmes to create new jobs in growth areas of the economy such as high skilled manufacturing, creative and green industries and increase JSA from £60.50 a week to at least £75 a week to provide extra financial help for people who are struggling to get by.

According to the TUC increasing JSA would bring a much needed boost to the economy as unemployed people are more likely to spend any extra income than save it.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "The huge swathes of public money used to bail out the banks were a bitter but necessary pill to swallow.

"The government must now show the same commitment to tackling rising unemployment, failing vacancies and the poverty caused by a stingy redundancy and benefits regime designed for a previous age of plentiful jobs and economic growth.

"The Chancellor is under immense pressure to come up with the goods in the budget ion April 22. But struggling businesses and cash-starved families cannot wait that long.

"Short-term wage subsidies and an increase in JSA could save thousands of jobs and prevent further financial hardship now."

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