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Sheppey and Sittingbourne dole queues keep shrinking as jobless figure across Swale falls again

Unemployment in Sittingbourne and Sheppey has fallen by 4.8%, the latest Office for National Statistics figures show.

It means the total number of people out of work in the two areas currently stands at 1,650.

MP Gordon Henderson said the drop follows a downward trend, with unemployment falling on a monthly basis since the start of the year.

MP Gordon Henderson
MP Gordon Henderson

He said: “The most recent fall I can only assume has been because of the new retail shops at Neats Court [at Queenborough].

“With Sports Direct and Poundland coming to the Island in the near future, I’d expect unemployment to fall even further.

“But, of course, I know the prison service is actively recruiting officers for Sheppey’s prisons so that could result in another 80 people finding work and coming off the unemployment register.”

The Neats Court site near Morrisons in Queenborough.
The Neats Court site near Morrisons in Queenborough.

Swale experienced a three-figure fall in unemployment, with the figure going down 105 to 1,884.

The number of people on the dole has also dropped countywide.

There were 710 fewer Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in September, bringing Kent’s total number to 20,399 from 21,109.

Every local authority has seen a fall in its claimant count, apart from Tunbridge Wells, which saw an increase from 546 to 563.

Thanet experienced the county’s biggest drop, with 260 people leaving its dole queue and taking its unemployed total to 3,165.

In Medway there were 88 fewer job seekers, bringing its total to 4,237, compared with 4,325 in August. Another big faller was Ashford, down 80 to 1,062.

Employment minister Esther McVey said: “The South-East now has the lowest claimant count rate in the UK at just 1.6%, which shows that the government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is proving successful.

“Behind today’s figures there are countless stories of people turning their lives around, of families feeling more secure with a regular wage, and of young people escaping unemployment and building a career.”

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